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Bucks County Earth Guardian Joins Suit Against DEP On Setting Carbon Dioxide Limits

On December 4, Bucks County Earth Guardian Kaia Elinich officially joined six other Pennsylvania youths as petitioners in a lawsuit to force DEP to develop carbon dioxide and other limits to combat climate change filed by the Our Children’s Trust on their behalf.

The petition seeks relief by requesting Gov. Tom Wolf, in addition to a number of state agencies such as the Department of Environmental Protection and the Environmental Quality Board, to “develop a comprehensive plan and regulate in a comprehensive manner Pennsylvania’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases consistent with and in furtherance of the Commonwealth’s duties and obligations under Article I, Section 27.”

The plaintiffs are seeking to protect their constitutional rights to clean air, pure water, and other essential natural resources, which they rely on for their survival and wellbeing, but are currently threatened by climate change.

The original six young people from Pennsylvania filed the climate change lawsuit in the Commonwealth Court in mid-September.

Their complaint asserts that defendants are failing to fulfill their trustee obligations to meet the Commonwealth’s Article I, Section 27 requirements by failing to regulate CO2 emissions, as evidenced by the current harmful impacts of climate change within Pennsylvania, such as extreme weather events, rising temperatures, and disruptions to the hydrological cycle.

Ashley Funk, one of the plaintiffs, previously petitioned the Department of Environmental Protection three different times urging the state agency to take science-based action to reduce Pennsylvania’s carbon dioxide emissions.

“Through our work petitioning the DEP, I’ve learned so much and so has the DEP,” said Funk. “Our petitions forced the DEP to take a more critical look at what they are doing to address climate change in our state. Despite multiple opportunities, the DEP failed to take the necessary steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change, making this lawsuit necessary. I hope that the DEP continues to learn and follows suit with other calls to action for decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. I hope they finally take action to do what our constitution requires them to do: preserve our atmosphere as a public trust for generations to come.”

Click Here for a chronology of actions related to Ashley Funk and DEP on the climate issue.

Kaia’s many actions to protest pipeline infrastructure, especially the proposed PennEast Pipeline and gas fracking in Pennsylvania, eventually led her to the Earth Guardians and Our Children’s Trust, an organization out of Eugene, Oregon, established to protect Earth’s climate for future generations.

Our Children’s Trust, along with Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic at Delaware Law School, Kenneth T. Kristl, Esq., felt Kaia’s concerns were important to the case, and she was added to the amended petition.

To learn more about the Bucks County Earth Guardians, visit their Facebook page and Twitter feed or contact Arianne and Kaia Elinich at 484-357-7474 or send email to:


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