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Lane County Judge Hears Climate Lawsuit

Brian Davies
Register Guard (pool)

A Lane County Judge heard arguments Tuesday in a case brought by two youth against the state of Oregon. The suit asks for more to be done by leaders to prevent climate change.

Eugene teens Olivia Chernaik and Kelsey Juliana originally filed brought the suit four years ago. They're asking Judge Karsten Rasmussen to include the atmosphere as a public trust as is already the case with land and water. Attorney Chris Winter explained to reporters after the hearing.

Winter: "And does the state really have a fiduciary duty to take care of the atmosphere for present and future generations? Or can the state just kind of sit idly by and say, we're trying, but we're not going to evaluate the outcomes as to whether they're meaningful."

Credit Brian Davies / Register Guard (pool)
Register Guard (pool)
Attorney Chris Winter argues before Judge Karsten Rasmussen while Kelsey Juliana listens.

The state acknowledges that climate change is a concern but says it's doing more than enough to address it. Judge Rasmussen says he'll issue a ruling in a couple of months.


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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