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Animal Legal Defense Fund v. United States

ELR Citation: 49 ELR 20129
Nos. 6:18-cv-01860-MC, (D. Or., 07/31/2019) (McShane, J.)

A district court dismissed a lawsuit brought by nonprofit groups and individuals alleging that climate change and the U.S. government's failure to protect them from the effects of climate change violated their constitutional right to a safe and sustainable environment. Plaintiffs argued the government's inaction on climate change violated various constitutional rights, including a "right to wilderness" that was guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment. The government contended that plaintiffs lacked standing to bring such broad claims and moved to dismiss. The court found that plaintiffs lacked standing because the harm they sought to redress was a diffuse, global phenomenon that affected every citizen worldwide, and thus was not individualized. Further, because there was no clearly established right to wilderness, the court found that plaintiffs failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. It therefore granted the government's motion to dismiss.