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Judge dismisses youth climate lawsuit over Utah's fossil fuel production

The 7 youth plaintiffs in front of the Third District Court
Robin Loznak
Our Children's Trust

Third District Court Judge Honorable Robert Faust heard oral arguments in Salt Lake City last week for the state’s motion to dismiss the Natalie R. v. State of Utah case. The youth plaintiffs argue that the state’s permission of fossil fuel development is actively causing pollution and other negative climate impacts, resulting in downstream health issues.

Yesterday, November 9, Judge Faust ruled in favor of the state, dismissing the case.

Andrew Welle, Our Children’s Trust Senior Staff Attorney, expressed his discontent with the interpretation of the state constitution, stating “The state of Utah cannot substantially reduce the lifespan of Utah’s children without violating their constitutional right to life.”

The youth plaintiffs expressed their deep disappointment in the decision however are not deterred in their fight for constitutional climate justice. Lead plaintiff, Natalie Roberts, stated their intent to appeal the decision. These youth activists persist in their fight, indicating the importance of a reversal to the future health of all Utah youth.

Read the first part of this story here. and for more information on the ruling see the official Our Children’s Trust press release.

Erin Lewis is a science reporter at Utah Public Radio and a PhD Candidate in the biology department at Utah State University. She is passionate about fostering curiosity and communicating science to the public. At USU she studies how anthropogenic disturbances are impacting wildlife, particularly the effects of tourism-induced dietary shifts in endangered Bahamian Rock Iguana populations. In her free time she enjoys reading, painting and getting outside with her dog, Hazel.