Our Children’s Trust is a group of climate change workers seeking to “elevate the voice of youth to secure the legal right to a stable climate and healthy atmosphere for the benefit of all present and future generations.”
OCT has originated an extraordinary set of lawsuits now making their way through federal court and the courts of nine states, including Colorado.
On Jan. 14, in Martinez v. Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the Colorado Supreme Court denied the plaintiff’s motion to make the COGCC condition oil and gas development on protecting public health, safety, and welfare and the environment.
Consider this ruling. It says that citizens’ rights to life, liberty and property are subordinate to industry’s right to pursue profit – no matter what dangers industry creates in the process, such as global ecosystem collapse.
COGCC claims its hands are tied.
Environmental laws do not account for rising carbon levels, causing irreparable climate damage. Instead, our laws “balance interests,” overall protecting the “right” of business to use our common, boundary-less atmosphere as a dumping ground for its waste.
We need a legal paradigm shift. Our state supreme court’s narrow, lockstep ruling does not protect us citizens, but rather protects indefinite carbon release by industry, no matter how harmful to our earth – or to future life on it.