Establishing a Right to Wilderness

Overview

Seeding Sovereignty joined the Animal Legal Defense Fund and several individual plaintiffs in a historic lawsuit to recognize a constitutional right to “wilderness” as a component of substantive due process. Wilderness is a prerequisite to American citizens’ ability to exercise other constitutional rights, specifically the right to privacy, free association, and autonomy, and therefore the federal government has a constitutional obligation to ensure that wilderness exists and that citizens have safe access to it. The lawsuit alleges that the federal government has failed to protect Americans’ right to wilderness by failing to mitigate the impacts of climate change by refusing to reign in carbon-intensive practices on federal lands, such as fossil fuel extraction, animal agriculture, and deforestation, which destroy wilderness in their own right and significantly contribute to climate change, causing the eventual decimation of wilderness through a degraded and unsustainable atmosphere and climate.

Significant Developments

July 31, 2019: Case Update

The District Court grants the government's motion to dismiss. The plaintiffs intend to appeal.

February 14, 2019: Case Update

First Amended Complaint filed in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon.

October 22, 2018: In the News - Climate Liability News

Latest Climate Suit Vs. U.S. Government Launched by Animal Rights Group

October 22, 2018: In the News - The Washington Times

Outdoor lovers sue US government over climate change

October 22, 2018: Case Update

Historic lawsuit to protect Americans' right to be let alone and compel federal government action on climate change is filed in the United States District Court for the District of Oregon. 

Project

Seeding Sovereignty

Attorneys

Jessica L. Blome, Greenfire Law, PC

Carter Dillard, Animal Legal Defense Fund

Focus Area

Energy and Climate