Xiuhtezcatl Martinez was an emcee and performer at the Native Nations Rise event in Washington, D.C. on March 10, 2017. Photo by Indianz.Com (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)
Environment | Law | National | Politics

Young indigenous activist fights Trump administration in climate change lawsuit

A young indigenous activist is one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit that seeks to force the federal government to take a more serious stand on climate change.

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, who descends from the Mexica people, and his fellow plaintiffs were already in for a big fight when they filed the lawsuit in 2015. But the legal landscape has changed dramatically with President Donald Trump in office.

After a judge ruled that the case could keep moving forward, the Trump team sought to appeal even before a decision was made. When the request was denied, the Department of Justice asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to intervene.

The plaintiffs, ages 10 to 21, must file a response by the end of this month, according to Our Children's Trust. The appeal could jeopardize a trial scheduled for February 2018 but Martinez told The New York Times he remains hopeful.

“I’m still confident it will make it to court in February,” Martinez, who is 17 and refers to himself as a "climate warrior," told the paper.

The Trump administration's unusual request isn't the only strange development in the case. Industry groups successfully intervened as defendants in 2016, arguing in part that the government -- then under control of a Democratic president -- couldn't adequately represent their interests.

But after Trump took office, they all sought to back out, The Washington Post reported. That might have something to do with the president's pro-energy agenda, his withdrawal from a global climate change agreement and his shift away from climate change programs, including those that benefit tribes.

The industry groups were allowed to withdraw on June 28.

Read More on the Story:
Students, Cities and States Take the Climate Fight to Court (The New York Times August 10, 2017)

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