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Juliana v. United States was scheduled to start Monday, Oct. 29, in Eugene, Ore.

Williamstown Rally Joins Others in Support of Youth Climate Change Lawsuit

By Rebecca DravisiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — In 2015, 21 young Americans filed a lawsuit against the federal governmment that alleges the United States has "violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property" by causing climate change.

After years of dueling motions, an original start date of Feb. 5, 2018, and a July 30, 2018, unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision that denied the Trump administration's application for a stay, Juliana v. United States was scheduled to start Monday, Oct. 29, in Eugene, Ore. - a trial that is being dubbed "the trial of the century." That start date, however, is far from certain, as the U.S. Supreme Court ordered a temporary, administrative stay while it considers the federal government's Oct. 18 petition for a stay. Attorneys for the youths filed their response on Oct. 22, requesting that trial proceed on Oct. 29. A decision was expected Friday, Oct. 26.

In Williamstown, long a Berkshire County leader in bringing attention to climate change issues, a rally has been scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 26, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the First Congregational Church on Main Street for people to come show their support for the plaintiffs.

Bridget Spann, the church's community outreach organizer, said Williamstown Select Board member Anne O'Connor will begin the remarks at 1:30 in front of the church and will be followed by several Williams College students, some with connections to the plaintiffs in the case and another who is passionate about the issue after completing a summer intern with the ACLU.

Spann said she and other organizers - from the Williamstown COOL Committee and other local social justice groups like Greylock Together - thought it was important to show their support for the youths, even if the trial doesn't end up happening on Oct. 29 - or at all.

"We need to go forward with the demonstration regardless of what happens with the trial," she said. "I think it's important for people to know this happening."

Spann said it was "incredibly meaningful and incredibly powerful" that youths are leading the way on this, but she said that doesn't abdicate adults' responsibility in making constructive changes now.

When we find lead in paint, she said, we fix it. When we find chemicals in water, she said, we fix it. The same thing needs to happen with climate change, she said.


"We have the information. We need to be taking action on a local level, a national level and a global level," she said. "Our government could be doing a lot more than it is."

The Williamstown rally is just one of many planned around the country over the next few days; elsewhere in Massachusetts, a rally in Boston will coincide with the scheduled opening of the trial on Oct. 29. A rally in Eugene is scheduled for 8 a.m. to noon Monday outside the federal courthouse where the trial would be taking place. A complete list as well as the background of the trial can be found online.

According to the website, the crux of the lawsuit is this: "The government has known about the dangers of climate change for more than 50 years. Despite that knowledge, the United States has continued to pursue reckless and dangerous fossil fuel development, harming the health of our communities and threatening our futures."

"Our freedom depends on a climate system that will sustain human life," the website reads. "Let's show the government that it has a duty to listen to our country's youngest citizens, and to prepare and implement a Climate Recovery Plan to protect our basic and most fundamental rights."

The federal government - under both Barack Obama and Donald Trump - has sought to have the case dismissed on many grounds, most recently the cost of litigation.

Undeterred, the 21 young plaintiffs have been working for three years with a team of world-class experts to bring their claims to trial. In the last 60 days, the parties have taken almost 50 depositions, have finalized their exhibit and witness lists, and filed their pre-trial briefs. Plaintiffs’ counsel say their 20 experts, all working pro bono, have already booked their travel to be in Eugene, Ore., for the Oct. 29 date. Plaintiffs' experts include Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz and renowned climate scientists including Dr. Kevin Trenberth, Dr. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg and Dr. Eric Rignot.

While the trial itself hangs in the balance, the youths and their supporters are not backing down.

"The lengths my own government is going to to get this case thrown out and avoid trial is absurd and offensive," said Vic Barrett, a 19-year-old plaintiff from White Plains, said in a news release from the Children's Trust, which is backing the youths. "This case is not about money. This is not about the 'harms to the government' or how much money the government has paid its experts or how many hours their lawyers have to work. This is about my future and the future of our youngest generations. This is about fundamental constitutional rights of children.

"We are simply asking for our right to be heard. Our government exists to hear us and protect us. If we cannot go to our federal courts with real constitutional claims for relief and present our evidence at trial then the people of this country have been failed by our third branch of government. The final judgment will be reviewed by appellate courts, but this case needs to go to trial on October 29."


Tags: climate change,   Williamstown,   

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Mount Greylock Announces First Quarter Honor Roll

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Mount Greylock Regional School has announced its honor roll for the first quarter of the 2019-2020 school year.

Students are placed on the honor roll when their quarterly letter grades average a B or better, and when the student receives no grade lower than a B- in all graded classes. The student must be carrying a minimum of four graded courses to be eligible. Students who withdraw from a course are not eligible for the honor roll for one semester.

Grade 12

Gabriella Alvarez, Madeline Art, Miriam Bakija, Anthony Bossana, James Brannan, Tyler Canata, Barry Chhuon, Taylor Cornell, Elizabeth DeGraff, Khushi Devre, Julia Donati, Lily Edge, Sarah Egan, Brandon Fahlenkamp, Alexander Falk, Toby Foehl, Lucas Forman, Tarryn Gaherty, Brandi Gill, Logan Gould, Noah Greenfield, James Hetherington, Molly Howard, Julia Jammalo, Mitchell Jezouit, Joseph Jones, Jonah Kelly-Whitney, Saville Keyes, Natalia LeRoux, Aaron McKeon, Alexander Morin, Amelia Murphy, Ryan Narey, Nicole Overbaugh, Brooke Phelps, Charlotte Rauscher, Madison Ross, Grace Sanchez, Ciera Schwarzer, Anna Scott, Lucy Shepard, Malcolm Skinner, Brayden Smith, Emanuel Soza-Foias, Owen Tucker-Smith, Jaimey Vallieres, Xavier Vilaubi, Anna Welch, Finnian Welch, Spencer Zheng.

Grade 11

Dominique Auriemma, Delaney Babcock, Isabel Beauchamp, Aurora Bullett, Talia Cappadona, Croft Carter, Priya D'Souza, Briana Dowling, Nicholas Duda, Laura Dupuis, William Ellingwood, Michael Faulkner, Amanda Filiault, Samuel Garvey, Gabriel Gerry, Claire Hall, Emma Hayward, Madison Helm, Carolyn Jones, Isabella Kirby, Lily Lesieur, Oscar Low, Col McDermott, William McDonough, Charles McWeeny, Clarissa McWeeny, Victoria Melkonyan, Corban Miller, Julius Munemo, Erin O'Keefe, Leah Petricca, Alyssa Phelps, Joshua Polumbo, Benjamin Prescott, Jordan Rosier, Leo Rossitter, Jamieson Sanborn, Charlotte Sanford, Hazel Scullin, John Skavlem, Matthew Sorrell, William Starenko, Solomon Sutter, Mia VanDeurzen, Gina Wang, Malcolm Waynick, Ruth Weaver, Jacqueline Wells, Fiona Williams, Olivia Winters.

Grade 10

Zoe Armet, Henry Art, Adriel Benko, Saku Bergendahl, Edward Brannan, William Broadwell, Jillian Bump, John Cangelosi, Jack Catelotti, Cayden Conry, Josephine DeChaine, Maisie Dufour, Samantha Garzone, Ryan Goss, Jonah Hane, Luca Hirsch, Ava Howard, Simon Klompus, Rosario Larios-Sontay, Felicia LaRoche, Juliann Lawson, Madison Machaffie, Thomas Martin, Catherine McAllister, Eleanor McPartland, Jamie-Lee Meintjes, Sophia Mele, Troy Michalak, Livia Morales, Teague Murphy, Lukas Nordstrom, Derek Paris, Krishan Rai, Tashi Rai, Sarah Reynolds, Jamie Rhinemiller, Lily Rorke, Emma Sandstrom, Anna Schoorlemmer, Piper Schulman, Alayna Schwarzer, Mackenzie Sheehy, Ava Simon, Christian Sullivan, Katherine Swann, Alexis Toomey, Lauren Voorhies, Rona Wang, Anthony Welch, Malina Woodbury.

Grade Nine

Ainsley Abel, Bryn Angelini, Annabelle Art, Matilda Asch, Seamus Barnes, Elizabeth Bertolino, Matthew Bertolino, Henrik Bingemann, Elena Caplinger, Matteo Chang, Hannah Chase, Antoinette Dykes, Cailean Fippinger, Lainey Gill, Emma Gilooly, Emma Gray, Arthur Greenfield, Eamon Hetherington, Ezra Holzapfel, Lucy Igoe, Lily Jayko, Seth Lillie, Clarissa Louis, Elliot Louis, Isabella Mangano, Will Marsh, Emma Mathews, Patrick McConnell, Altan McIntosh, Emma Newberry, Liam O'Keefe, Zenalyssa Packer, Beatrice Pedroni, Sarah Polumbo, Christiane Rech, Juliet Robinson, Ernani Rosse, Andres Sanchez, Foster Savitsky, Noah Shin, Jennah Simpson, Kiersten Simpson, Jane Skavlem, Euphemia Skinner, Elizabeth Smith, Amelia Soler-Sala, Molly Sullivan, Rose Sutter, Samuel Tucker-Smith, Elissa Wong.

Grade Eight

Marlee Alpi, Ava Anagnos, Lex Anagnos, Thomas Art, Jude Bakija, Phoebe Barnes, Jude Barzousky, Liam Berryman, Mirabel Boyer, Jacqueline Brannan, Emma Brennan, Finnegan Carothers, Lily Catelotti, Sylvie Clowes, Lila Cohen-McFall, Angie Colandria, Makaylah Conrado, Julia DeChaine, Benjamin Dingman, Karlie Dowling, Noelle Dravis, Emily Dupuis, Isabella Garivaltis, Beatrice Garvey, Annabelle Gitterman, Julia Goh, Anabel Gonzales, Louis Gotlieb, Che Guerra, Emma Hane, Mia Harding, Phoebe Hughes, Jason Jaros, Talia Kapiloff, Faith Karl, Erin Keating, Ryan Keating, Jenner Kittle, Luka Lash-St. John, Svea-Marie Lawson, Cedric Lemaire, Caleb Low, Cecilia Malone, Grace Malone, Judge Martin, Lily McDermott, Quinn McDermott, Lucy McWeeny, Emily Mole, John Morales, George Munemo, Maggie Nichols, Emily Ouellette, Damon Pause, Gianna Pesce, Owen Petropulos, Alexa Politis, Quinlan Repetto, Declan Rogers, Celina Savage, Mason Sayers, Abigail Scialabba, Iris Semon Pike, Echo Simonetta-Trombley, Jasmine Skorupski, Parker Smith, Oliver Swabey, Jamie Sweren, Celia Szczepaniak, Macy Tidmarsh, Mitchell Waynick, Vincent Welch, Marcus Whalen-Loux, Grace Winters.

Grade Seven

Hope Abriel, MacKenzie Alcaro, Emily Alvarez, Marshall Baya, Jameson Bayliss, Jayne Beringer, Oliver Bingemann, Caelan Briggs, Claire Burrow, Miguel Camacho, Aleksei Chang, Nicholas Clairmont, Charlotte Coody, Olivia Cook, Ava Costa, Kaitlyn Dawson, Vera de Jong, Zoe Dupee, Brett Dupuis, Kaeya Durley, Mia Filiault, Ian Fredette, Soleigha Girard, Jacob Gladu, Katherine Goss, Brodie Hayden, Gavin Hetherington, Chase Hoey, Charlotte Holubar, William Igoe, Jaclynn Kastrinakis, Caliegh Kiernan, Noah Klompus, Malia Koffi, Connor Laliberte, Solana Lash-St. John, Eve LeBarron, Kelsey MacHaffie, Johnathan Mejias, Rafael Mellow-Bartels, Cameron Miller, Arthur Millet, Jake Newberry, Liam Noyes, Mai O'Connor, Natalia Palestino, Mia Patrick, Natalie Pesce, Jackson Powell, Erik Powell-Bechtel, Polly Rhie, Elias Robinson, Killian Scanlon, Katherine Shelsy, Simon Shin, Alec Sills, Ezekiel Singer, Christina Slick, Knowl Stroud, Kylie Sweren, Owen Taylor, Dylan Turner, Anna Wang, Cole Wetherell, Cael Whaley.

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