MASSACHUSETTS

Two of the four Massachusetts youth plaintiffs, Shamus Miller and Olivia Gieger, accompanied by their lawyers, Phelps Turner, Jennifer Rushlow, and Dylan Sanders.

Two of the four Massachusetts youth plaintiffs, Shamus Miller and Olivia Gieger, accompanied by their lawyers, Phelps Turner, Jennifer Rushlow, and Dylan Sanders.

LEGAL UPDATES

September 16, 2016

Governor Charles D. Baker of Massachusetts acts after youths’ critical court victory and issues Executive Order No. 569, Establishing an Integrated Climate Change Strategy for the Commonwealth.

The Executive Order declares that “climate change presents a serious threat to the environment and the Commonwealth’s residents” and that “only through an integrated strategy bringing together all parts of state and local government will we be able to address these threats effectively.” The Executive Order requires the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs to prepare and implement a “comprehensive energy plan” within two years. It also requires the Department of Environmental Protection to promulgate regulations establishing annual reduction in Massachusetts’ greenhouse gas emissions no later than August 11, 2017.

Our Children’s Trust will continue to support youth in Massachusetts and their efforts to ensure that the Commonwealth’s forthcoming rules are sufficient to protect their constitutional and public trust rights and prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

 

 

May 17, 2016

Youth Climate Advocates Secure Victory in Massachusetts Climate Change Lawsuit

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Rejects DEP’s arguments, finds that existing schemes “fall short”, and orders annual reductions in greenhouse gases

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court found in favor of four youth plaintiffs, all supported by Our Children's Trust, the Conservation Law Foundation, and Mass Energy Consumers Alliance, in the critical climate change case, Kain et al. v. Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The Court found that the DEP was not complying with its legal obligation to reduce the State’s GHG emissions and ordered the agency to “promulgate regulations that address multiple sources or categories of sources of greenhouse gas emissions, impose a limit on emissions that may be released . . . and set limits that decline on an annual basis.”

Read the Press Release here.

Read the Court's decision here.

January 8, 2016

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court heard oral arguments in the youth's climate case against the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for failing to promulgate regulations to reduce the State's greenhouse gas emissions. The oral argument is archived and can be watched by clicking the image below. A decision in the case is expected sometime this spring.

September, 2015

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the highest court in Massachusetts, decided to take the case on direct review, skipping the intermediary court of appeals. Right now, the youths' case is before the Massachusetts Supreme Court and that court will have a hearing sometime later this fall or in 2016. We will update this page when we learn of the hearing information.

March 24, 2015

Youth Plaintiffs have filed their notice of appeal of the March 24 decision of Massachusetts Superior Court in their case against the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The Court deferred to the DEP’s interpretation of the Global Warming Solutions Act and ruled that no further regulations were required by law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Judge noted that the regulatory measures implemented by the DEP may not be effective in adequately reducing greenhouse gas emissions but gave the DEP significant deference as to what type of regulations it implemented to reduce emissions.

The Youth Plaintiffs were disappointed by this decision but are appealing the decision to compel the DEP to follow the law and ensure that their right to clean air, a constitutionally protected resource, is safeguarded. The Youth Plaintiffs have filed their notice of appeal and trust that the appellate court will make the correct decision to protect their right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate.

December 17, 2014

Plaintiffs submitted their brief in reply to Massachusetts DEP's brief opposing plaintiffs' motion for judgment on the pleadings.

November 6, 2014

Plaintiffs filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings.

August 11, 2014

With the support of the legal team at OUR CHILDREN’S TRUST, four youth plaintiffs from Massachusetts, Conservation Law Foundation, and Mass Energy Consumers Alliance filed a lawsuit against the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Their complaint argues that the DEP has failed to enact regulations required by the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act that would establish declining annual levels of greenhouse gas emissions. The four youth plaintiffs that are part of this lawsuit are taking action to protect their right and the right of their peers to a healthy atmosphere and a stable climate. Read their complaint here.

With the support of Our Children's Trust and Youth Climate Action Network, some of the youth plaintiffs had previously petitioned DEP to promulgate regulations for carbon emission reductions. This is the next step in their efforts to protect their State and future generations from climate disruption.

June 24, 2013

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection issued a decision denying Boston students’ climate change rulemaking petition. While this decision is disappointing for the students and the rest of the youth fighting for a healthy future in the state of Massachusetts, the decision includes many positive aspects that lay the foundation for future efforts by Massachusetts youth.

June 13, 2013

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection held a public hearing on Boston students’ climate change rulemaking petition. A letter signed by 15 Massachusetts organizations was submitted in support of the youth. Thirteen youth petitioners testified and were joined by numerous law students, professors, and local activists who submitted public testimony.

June 10, 2013

Thursday, June 13th, 3:00 – 4:30 pm Eastern Standard Time
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection will hold public meeting on Boston students’ climate change petition for rulemaking. Students and leading environmental advocates will be available to speak with members of the press after the meeting.

November 1, 2012

A group of Boston-area students hand-delivered their climate change Petition for Rulemaking to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection today. The students filed the petition in an attempt to get the State to protect Massachusetts's climate system and shorelines by adequately protecting the atmosphere, a public trust resource upon which all Massachusetts residents rely for their health and safety.

The students had planned to deliver the Petition on Monday, but were delayed by Hurricane Sandy, which shut down Boston schools and government offices. The hurricane is one of the largest storms to ever hit the East Coast. Massachusetts was hit with heavy winds that toppled trees and power lines, causing close to 385,000 residents to lose power. Shorelines were pounded by high seas, forcing evacuations in low-lying areas.

Read the press release here. 

October 31, 2012

Students from Boston Latin High School and Boston College School of Law will hand-deliver their Petition for Rulemaking to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection asking the department to adopt a rule that will require the state to prepare plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 6% annually to meet the statutory targets in the Massachusetts’ Global Warming Solutions Act. Right before this important election, the TRUST youth—many of whom cannot vote—are calling on their leaders and adult voters to be, in Eshe Sherley’s words, “upstanders, not bystanders” on climate crisis.

Check out the Petition for Rulemaking.