Found in ‘due process and ‘public trust’ doctrines
Posted BY: Kara | NwoReport
The Hawaii Supreme Court ruled Monday that there is a right to a “life-sustaining climate system,” marking the first time a U.S. court has ruled that citizens have climate rights, according to Bloomberg Law.
The case was brought by Hu Honua Bioenergy against the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), which regulates all utility companies operating within the state after the regulator denied the company’s plan to enter into a power purchasing agreement with Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO). The court upheld the regulator’s decision, finding that the PUC “understood its public interest-minded mission” and rightly considered the impact of the project on citizens’ “right to a clean and healthful environment,” according to the opinion of the court, written by Associate Justice Todd Eddins.
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The case has been ongoing since 2017, when environmental advocacy group Life of the Land appealed the PUC’s initial approval of the project to the Hawaii Supreme Court, which the court then sent back to PUC, according to Pacific Business News. In 2022, PUC reversed its decision, prompting Hu Honua to file its own appeal to the court.