[Nov. 06, 2017-PHILADELPHIA] — On behalf of Clean Air Council and two Pennsylvania children, Hausfeld filed suit today in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against the federal government to prevent it from rolling back policies, programs, laws, rules, and regulations previously in place to address and ameliorate climate change and its consequences. This pro bono litigation focuses on the federal government’s knowledge (dating back over fifty years) that climate change presents a clear and present danger to life, and represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet. You can read the full complaint here.
The United States has experienced a steady increase in extreme weather events caused by climate change, as exemplified most recently by the devastating impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and the October California wildfires. If not adequately addressed, climate change will cause human deaths, shorten human life spans, result in widespread damage to property, threaten human food sources, drastically affect human air quality, and dramatically alter the planet’s ecosystem to the detriment of the plaintiffs in this case, their children and grandchildren, and all future generations.
The federal government has relied on junk science to implement reckless climate change policies in the face of indisputable U.S. and international scientific consensus. It is the government’s responsibility to protect the lives and welfare of citizens and the life-sustaining resources they depend on. These acts of deliberate indifference are increasing U.S. contributions to climate change, thereby increasing the frequency and intensity of its life-threatening effects, and violating the constitutional rights of all U.S. citizens.
Plaintiffs are leading Philadelphia environmental nonprofit Clean Air Council and two child plaintiffs who have been personally impacted by climate change. The Federal Government Defendants include President Donald Trump, the Department of Energy, Secretary Rick Perry, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Administrator Scott Pruitt.
Clean Air Council Executive Director and Chief Counsel Joseph Minott said: “We will not stand idly by while President Trump and his agencies raze crucial environmental protections, ignore climate science, dispute well-documented facts and force future generations of Americans to suffer the consequences of this administration’s reckless choices and ignorant policies. We must hold the federal government accountable for the long-term environmental harm that is propagating under its direction. It’s time to fight back.”
Scientists refer to climate change as the most important issue of our time. Human contribution to climate change, which exacerbates its effects, has reached a critical moment, the consequences of which are potentially irreversible. Hausfeld Chairman Michael D. Hausfeld stated: “By deliberately engaging in this rollback of climate policies and programs, the government is affirmatively endangering the lives and welfare of its citizens.”
This lawsuit comes on the heels of the federal government’s release of the National Climate Assessment, which, in stark contrast to the administration’s environmental policies, affirms that climate change is almost entirely caused by human action and is a growing threat to the United States.
Hausfeld attorneys working on this case include Michael D. Hausfeld, Seth R. Gassman, Katie R. Beran, Braden Beard, and Michaela Spero.
For further information or to arrange interviews please contact:
(215) 564-3200 ext. 162
NOTES TO EDITORS
Hausfeld is a leading global law firm with offices in Berlin, Boston, Brussels, Düsseldorf, London, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. The firm has a broad range of complex litigation expertise, particularly in antitrust/competition, financial services, sports and entertainment, environmental, mass torts, consumer protection, and human rights matters, often with an international dimension. Hausfeld aims to achieve the best possible results for clients through its practical and commercial approach, avoiding litigation where feasible, yet litigating robustly when necessary. Hausfeld’s extensive experience with alternative and innovative fee models offers clients a diverse menu of engagement options and maximum flexibility in terms of managing their cost exposure.
Hausfeld is the only claimants’ firm to be ranked by the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners as a top tier firm in private enforcement of antitrust/competition law in both the United States and the United Kingdom. For more information about the firm, including recent trial victories and landmark settlements, please visit: www.hausfeld.com.
About Clean Air Council
Clean Air Council is a member-supported, non-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting everyone’s right to breathe clean air. The Council is headquartered in Philadelphia and works through public education, community organizing, advocacy, and government oversight to ensure enforcement of environmental laws. For more information, please visit www.cleanair.org.
The point where the Wissahickon Creek meets the Schuylkill River has been an important link to travel in the area for thousands of years. Today, it’s highly congested with transit and vehicle traffic entering and exiting the Roosevelt and Schuylkill Expressways.
It’s a hub for SEPTA with 11 bus routes stopping at the Wissahickon Transportation Center, and the Wissahickon Regional Rail Station just a few hundred feet away, Two of the region’s most popular trails, the Schuylkill and Wissahickon, converge here as well. “We have all these modes of transportation butting heads here,” said Matt Wysong, Senior Planner at the Philadelphia Planning Commission. “That was an obvious issue we identified in this plan.”
Thousands of commuters pass through the Wissahickon Transportation Center (WTC) and along Ridge Avenue every day heading into Center City, and also west to the suburbs. The city’s Planning Commission has identified this part of the city as a focus area for improving service and accessibility to riders, and recently conducted a boots on the ground survey to find out what people think about their commute through this area.
“We are here today to talk to the people that use the area,” Wysong said. “To get a better understanding of what they see as the conditions on the ground, the issues and the greater opportunities.”
Wysong and a small group of surveyors from Clean Air Council and the city’s Planning Commission were out during peak hours, speaking to people getting off buses and riding bikes along the Wissahickon trail. Wysong told us that many people riding SEPTA often took more than one bus to get to their destination, and some even had commutes that were two hours long.
Wysong says he noticed the area is particularly hard for cyclists to navigate. “What I am observing here is that there is a lot of conflicts for bicyclists,” Wysong said. “They’re just trying to use every inch of space to kind of get through it somehow.” He pointed out that with no clear path through the area, cyclists run the risk of colliding with cars and pedestrians.
SEPTA recently received federal funding to update WTC, and Wysong tells us that SEPTA is looking to expand to the lot next door. He says this would allow for double the capacity of the current WTC. He also tells us that once SEPTA completes this project, Parks and Recreation wants to connect the Schuylkill River trail along the water.
Currently, trail users are forced to travel through this congested area before getting back on the Schuylkill River Trail. Once finished, the trail will eventually connect to the Pencoyd bridge over the Schuylkill River and allow riders to enjoy trails on either side of the river. This is one of the last remaining undeveloped segments of the Schuylkill River Trail, and once it’s linked up here, riders will be able to enjoy a safe ride all the way up to Pottsville.
For more info on the project and public hearings regarding the study click here.