E&E News | Amanda Reilly
From lawsuits over regulatory delays to public record requests, climate change has proved to be fertile ground for litigation during the first year of the Trump administration, according to a new report chronicling lawsuit trends over the past year. In 2017, plaintiffs launched more than 100 lawsuits over either climate change impacts or greenhouse gas reductions in U.S. courts, the report by Columbia University’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law found.
“In its first year, the Trump administration set a high-water mark for climate change deregulation, but extralegal rollbacks have been constrained by the courts through vigilant litigation,” the report concluded.
The study focused on 82 of the 100-plus cases deemed “pertinent” to the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back climate change regulations. Seventy-seven of the cases were filed during the Trump presidency, while the remaining five, including the litigation over the Clean Power Plan, changed direction after President Trump was elected.
Broadly, the suits fell under two categories: 60 cases were filed in support of climate change regulation, while 22 were filed to oppose greenhouse gas restrictions.
Of the “pro” climate change lawsuits, 14 cases – or 23 percent – sought to directly defend Obama-era climate change rules.