Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott is facing a lawsuit filed by a group of young people alleging that he violated their constitutional rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness.
The young Floridians also accused Gov. Scott’s administration of causing harm to Florida’s natural resources through his fossil fuel energy policies.
In their complaint, the eight youngsters including Delaney Reynolds and Levi Draheim, both well-known climate activists, claimed the governor’s administration violated the Florida Constitution and its common law. They argued that the governor and his administration failed to take action to prevent climate change.
According to them, Gov. Scott and his co-defendants committed “unconstitutional contributions to climate change.” The youngster argued that the governor created and operated a fossil fuel energy policy that “caused widespread harm” to them and to Florida’s natural resources.
Additionally, they pointed out that the governor and his co-defendants “have not responded reasonably” to the urgent crisis of climate change. Instead their action worsens the problem.
Since Gov. Scott became governor in 2011, he significantly reduced the budget for Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The budget reduction limited the department’s ability to carry out its mission.
The young Floridians are asking the court to order Gov. Scott and his administration to develop and implement a comprehensive plan to stabilize the climate system and protect natural resources.
In a statement, Guy Burns, the lead counsel representing the Florida youth, said, “It is the responsibility of the state to uphold the constitution, and these young people have a fundamental right to a stable climate system.”
Our Children’s Trust, a non-profit organization based in Oregon, is supporting the Florida youth’s complaint.
Gov. Scott’s spokesman calls lawsuit a political theater
In response to the lawsuit, McKinley Lewis, a spokesperson for Gov. Scott commented, “The governor signed one of the largest environmental protection budgets in Florida’s history last month – investing $4bn into Florida’s environment.”
Additionally, Lewis emphasized that the governor is focused on real solutions to protect our environment – not political theater or a lawsuit orchestrated by a group based in Eugene, Oregon.”