TEXAS

Photo: Stuart Seeger

Photo: Stuart Seeger

If you live in Texas and would like to get involved in follow-on legal action, please contact us

PRIOR PROCEEDINGS

July 23, 2014

The Texas Court of Appeals held that the Texas Legislature has not given Texas courts the ability to hear cases involving the denial of rulemaking petitions. However, the district court's legal holding that the public trust doctrine includes all natural resources including the atmosphere was not addressed by the Court of Appeals in their opinion.

September 25, 2013

Oral argument was heard before the Third Court of Appeals in Austin. The Appeals Court will decide whether the youth plaintiffs had the right to take their case to court in the first place and whether the court, not TCEQ, is the proper government body to interpret the law and the legal obligations and authorities of TCEQ.

Read press release here.

May 9, 2013

Texas political leaders and conservation and social justice organizations filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief in support of the youth plaintiffs and to ask the Texas Court of Appeals to uphold the legislature’s express intent to give Texans the right of judicial review over decisions by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Amici include former TCEQ Commissioner Larry Soward and Texas State Representative Lon Burnam and are represented by Lowerre, Frederick, Perales, Allmon & Rockwell, a law firm dedicated to the practice of environmental law in Texas.

The brief cites to an emergency disaster proclamation issued by Governor Rick Perry on March 22, 2013, in which he states, “exceptional drought conditions pose a threat of imminent disaster for [183] counties in the State of Texas.” The proclamation also states that, “record high temperatures, preceded by significantly low rainfall, have resulted in declining reservoir and aquifer levels, threatening water supplies and delivery systems in many parts of the state,” that “prolonged dry conditions continue to increase the threat of wildfire across many portions of the state,” and “these drought conditions have reached historic levels and continue to pose an imminent threat to public heath, property and the economy.” Read press release here.

April 22, 2013

On Earth Day, three youth plaintiffs filed a brief in response to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) argument that the district court did not have jurisdiction to hear the their claims in a climate change lawsuit filed in 2011. Attorney Adam Abrams, with the Texas Environmental Law Center, filed the lawsuit, on behalf of the young plaintiffs, against the TCEQ in state court, seeking judicial review of the TCEQ’s denial of the plaintiffs’ petition for rulemaking to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. TCEQ is attempting to overturn Judge Triana’s decision holding that the atmosphere is a public trust resource under the State Constitution. The Appeals Court will decide in this case whether these youth plaintiffs had the right to take their case to court and whether the court, not TCEQ, is the proper government body to interpret the law. Read press release here.

July 2012

Judge Gisela D. Triana in Travis County District Court issued a historic decision finding that all natural resources are protected under the Public Trust Doctrine and the state constitution of Texas. The final judgment of the court was issued August 2, 2012. Check out the press release.

June 14, 2012

Texas plaintiffs' attorney Adam Abrams argued in Travis County District Court today that Texas has a public trust duty to protect the atmosphere for present and future generations and that the denial of Plaintiffs' petition for rulemaking should be reversed.

May 2012

Petitioners have completed briefing on judicial review of the agency denial of a rulemaking petition.

July 21, 2011

Adam Abrams, Attorney with the Texas Environmental Law Center, filed a lawsuit against the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in state court, seeking judicial review of TCEQ denial of the petition for rulemaking. Read the press release.

June 24, 2011

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality denied the petition for rulemaking submitted by Our Children’s Trust.

May 4, 2011

Petition for rulemaking was filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on behalf of Texas youth.