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Attorneys Seek Change To Climate Suit So It Can Go To Trial

Melorie Begay/KLCC News

Attorneys in a federal climate lawsuit filed by 21 youth have asked Eugene District judge Ann Aiken to let them amend their complaint. The change could allow them to have their case heard in court.

Juliana V. United States was filed in 2015 in Eugene federal court. It calls for a declaratory judgment that the nation’s fossil fuel-based energy system causes climate change and violates the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights. The suit also asked the court to create a climate recovery plan, which the 9th circuit court of appeals ruled was overreach. Now this motion to amend would remove that part of the complaint. Lead attorney for the plaintiffs, Julia Olson.

“And the first really most important thing is that the court declare rights and wrongs.” Olson said. “That the court says, have the constitutional rights of these plaintiffs been violated by their government? And that’s what we hope to go to trial on.”

A ruling on the motion could come in a couple months. Meanwhile, Olson is hopeful the Biden Administration may consider settling the case.

“Well, if we take President Biden at his word. He says that he is going to work for the youth of America on the climate crisis and act in their best interest,”Olson said. “So it’s our hope that this administration will decide that they might want to talk about settlement.”

Olson is Executive Director of the non-profit organization Our Children’s Trust. She represents 21 youth who are now between the ages of 13 and 24. Several of them are from Oregon.

Copyright 2021 KLCC.

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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