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Filippone v. Iowa Department of Natural Resources

ELR Citation: 43 ELR 20054
Nos. 2-1005, 12-0444, (Iowa Ct. App., 03/13/2013)

An Iowa appellate court affirmed the dismissal of a minor's petition asking the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to adopt new rules regarding the emission of greenhouse gases in the state. She first argued that the state agency acted unreasonably in denying the proposed rule because Iowa's Inalienable Rights Clause provides Iowans with a constitutionally protected right to a life-sustaining atmosphere, but she failed to raise this issue below. She also argued that the agency must consider new rules regarding greenhouse gas emissions because the public trust doctrine applies to the atmosphere. But the public trust doctrine in Iowa has a narrow scope, and there is no precedent for extending the public trust doctrine to include the atmosphere. Because the state agency does not have a duty under the public trust doctrine to restrict greenhouse gases to protect the atmosphere, its denial of the proposed rule was not unreasonable. And lastly, the agency's denial of the petition was not unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion.