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Aji P. v. Washington

ELR Citation: 51 ELR 20024
Nos. 80007-8-I, (Wash. App. Ct., 02/08/2021)

A Washington appellate court affirmed a lower court's dismissal of a lawsuit filed by young Washingtonians alleging a right to a clean environment and stable climate. Specifically, plaintiffs requested that the court order the state to develop "an enforceable state climate recovery plan" because they have a state constitutional right to a healthful environment and stable climate system. The lower court found no such right within Washington's Constitution, and concluded that plaintiffs' claims presented political questions that must be resolved by the elected branches of government. The appellate court recognized the harm that greenhouse gas emissions inflict on the environment and its future stability and agreed that the right to a stable environment should be fundamental, but found that it would violate the separation-of-powers doctrine if it were to resolve plaintiffs' claims. It therefore affirmed the lower court's order dismissing the suit.