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State Appeals Court Rules Against Climate Plaintiffs

Our Children's Trust

The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled against two young people in a climate lawsuit against the state. The plaintiffs plan to appeal to the State Supreme Court.

Kelsey Juliana and Ollie Chernaik filed the climate lawsuit against the state of Oregon in 2011 in Lane County Circuit Court. The plaintiffs were then 11 and 14 years old.

Juliana, who’s now 22, says she’s shocked by the Appeals Court decision.

“I’m just really disappointed that my state didn’t recognize the opportunity to be a leader and they rejected an opportunity to act courageously and morally.”

The appeals Court ruled that the common law public trust doctrine does not put an obligation on the state to protect public trust resources like Oregon’s beaches and mountains from the effects of climate change. The court took 2 years to issue the decision. Attorney Julia Olson, who represents the young plaintiffs, says the Appeals Court got it wrong.

They plan to take the case to the Oregon Supreme Court. There is a separate climate lawsuit brought by 21 youths, including Juliana, against the federal government.

Copyright 2019 KLCC.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s former News Director. 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. After reporting for the Northwest News Network and KAZU, Rachael returned to KLCC in 2007 as Morning Edition host and a general assignment reporter covering politics, the environment, education, and the arts. She was hired as KLCC News Director in 2018. Rachael departed KLCC in June, 2022.
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