IMPORTANT: It's a Serious Matter of Life

Lawsuit filed by Hawaii children alleges state fails to reduce greenhouse emissions

Fourteen Hawaii children are named as plaintiffs in a lawsuit that accuses the Hawaii Department of Transportation of not doing enough to reduce greenhouse emissions.

The lawsuit alleges the "DOT's operation of a transportation system that results in high levels of greenhouse gas emissions violates their state constitutional rights, causing them significant harm and impacting their ability to "live healthful lives in Hawaii now and into the future."

It was filed through Our Children's Trust, a non-profit public interest law firm. The children range in age from nine to 18.

The children have a guaranteed right by the Hawaii Constitution to "a clean and healthful environment," the plaintiffs said in their lawsuit.

"Defendants have not planned, funded, or implemented necessary, recognized, and environmentally and economically beneficial alternatives for reducing transportation related greenhouse gas emissions, including but not limited to measures to reduce vehicle miles traveled, electrify transportation and transportation facilities, increase the use of alternative fuels in the ground, air, and marine transportation sectors, and expand multimodal transportation options such as public transit, pedestrian pathways, and bikeways," they said.

The plaintiffs want the judge "to cease establishing, maintaining, and operating the state transportation system in a manner that breaches Defendants' mandatory duty under the constitutional public trust doctrine, fails to align with the Zero Emissions Target and other climate mitigation mandates, and infringes upon Youth Plaintiffs' constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment."

They are also asking for a "special master" to report on the state's progress.

Ige and DOT officials have not responded to the lawsuit, the organization said on its website.

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