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Federal Judge Rules Youth Climate Lawsuit Can Proceed

Rachael McDonald

Two days after a man who denies climate science was elected President of the United States, a federal judge in Eugene says she won’t dismiss a lawsuit filed by 21 young people. The kids are suing the federal government for not doing enough to combat climate change.

U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken denied requests by the federal government as well as trade groups representing energy giants to dismiss the case. They had argued that lawmakers and federal agencies, not the court, should determine climate change policy. The lawsuit filed last year in Eugene alleges the federal government has known for decades that carbon pollution causes climate change but has failed to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Kelsey Juliana, at 20, is the oldest of the plaintiffs. She was emotional speaking of the recent election at a press conference in front of the Eugene Federal Courthouse.
Kelsey Juliana: “Most of the plaintiffs on this case, they had no vote in this election. This election was not for them. But this case is for them. This fight is for them.”
Juliana and the other plaintiffs are seeking a court decision that finds the government is violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property by allowing dangerous emissions to be released into the atmosphere.

Judge Ann Aikens ruling

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.
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