The public acknowledgment of global warming has risen to new heights, as federal judge Jeffery White advanced a lawsuit against the government for funding projects abroad that have the possibility of negatively contributing to global climate change. White ruled that citizen groups have legal standing to raise this issue, but did not have enough evidence to require environmental impact statements from the two federal agencies that are carrying out the project.
Environmental organizations Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, as well as four United States cities – Boulder, Colo. and Arcata, Santa Monica and Oakland in California – brought the lawsuit into play in 2002, with the hopes of providing evidence to the national judicial system that such overseas projects will affect the state of global warming at home in the United States.
Norman Dean, media spokesperson for Friends of the Earth, said the projects abroad include the construction of coal-fired power plants and cross-border oil pipelines, which will emit a large percentage of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“A wide range of energy-related projects are included in these overseas missions,” Dean said. “We used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain records from the Export-Import Banks and Overseas Private Investment Corporation to discover that they are providing financial assistance to projects that have not completed environmental impact statements.”
Dean said the environmental groups and cities working on the lawsuit have until Apr. 20, when a decision will be made on whether the projects will go forward or restrictions will be made. If the court decides against the case, Dean said the organizations would appeal the court’s decision and argue that there was sufficient evidence to bring a claim to the government, without further trial.
Kirk Davies, press spokesperson for Greenpeace, said his organization started participating in the legal process of this suit because they think it’s important to decrease America’s addiction to oil and coal and their effects on the environment.