graphic image depicting green amicus briefs for Atlantic Legal Foundation Amicus Brief Summary

“But the World Might Explode”: Discredited Environmental Group Recycles Attempt at Judicial Veto of Valuable Research

This case involves a challenge to the United States’ financial support for the construction of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a subatomic particle accelerator in Geneva, Switzerland, and the research conducted there. Plaintiff’s core complaint is that the U.S. and other defendants violated the National Environmentla Policy Act by failing to prepare an adequate environmental analysis of the risks of several theoretical objects that plaintiffs allege could be produced by the collider. Plaintiffs allege that experiments at the LHC could destroy the earth. These claims and some of the plaintiffs, are largely the same as those made against the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider in New York, which has safely operated for 10 years contrary to the claims of certain plaintiffs and their amici.  The safety of the LHC is supported by the weight of scientific evidence, while the claims of the Appellants are not accepted by the scientific community because they have not been subject to the scrutiny of rigorous scientific analysis.

Issue Areas:

Sound Science

Question(s) Presented:

Do Appellants have standing when the basis of their claim is only a hypothesis that is contradicted by all credible scientific evidence?

Additional Background:

To establish standing, Wagner must demonstrate (1) an “injury in fact,” (2) “a causal connection between the injury and the conduct complained of that is not attributable to “the independent action of some third party not before the court,” and (3) a likelihood that a favorable decision will redress the injury. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560-61, 112 S.Ct. 2130, 119 L.Ed.2d 351 (1992).

ALF’s Amicus Brief:

Amici are nuclear physicists, including two Nobel prize winners, who believe that Appellant’s misinterpreted amici’s submission to the district court in a way that implied support for them, and wish to inform this Court of the correct scientific approach to the issues of safety raised in this case. ALF argues that appellants lack standing, as their claim contains no particularized injury, is purely speculative and lacking credibility, and lacks a geographical nexus to the United States. Even if Appellants could establish a particularized injury, the U.S. contributes only 10% of the funds for this project, withdrawal of which will not halt it. ALF asks this Court to affirm the court below’s dismissal of this case. 


On August 24, 2010, the Ninth Circuit issued a favorable opinion, dismissing the appeal for lack of standing.

Date Originally Posted: April 10, 2009

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