The Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld a decision to deny a group’s request to make the state expand its rules to regulate greenhouse gases. The group “Kids versus Global Warming” petitioned the Iowa Environmental Commission in June of 2011 to ask the D.N.R. adopt new rules to restrict greenhouse gas emissions.
The commission voted unanimously to deny the petition. Glori Dei Fillippone had signed onto the petition and asked the district court to review the commission’s decision, but the district court declined to overturn it.
Fillippone appealed citing three issues: first, the Inalienable Rights Clause in Iowa’s constitution provides a right to a “life sustaining atmosphere.” Second, the Public Trust Doctrine that protects the state’s waterways should be expanded to the atmosphere. And finally she said a comment made by a commission member about her being a vegetarian did not allow her to get a fair hearing on the issue.
The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled Fillippone did not raise the Inalienable Rights issue in her appeal to the district court, so it could not rule on the issue. The court said the Iowa Supreme Court has declined to expand the scope of the public trust law and there is no precedent to expand it to include the atmosphere.
On the final point, the Appeals Court noted the commission gave the issue a fair review with a public hearing before all members voted against it. All three Appeals Court justices voted to uphold the lower courts ruling.
Justice Richard Doyle said in a special note he agrees “there is no Iowa case law for extending the public trust doctrine to include the atmosphere. But, I believe there is a sound public policy basis for doing so.”
See the full ruling here: Greenhouse gas ruling PDF