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Judge Rules Against Teens In Climate Change Case

Brian Davies
Register Guard (pool)

Monday, a State judge ruled against a climate change lawsuit brought by two Eugene teens. The suit sought to force Oregon lawmakers to do more to reduce carbon emissions and help prevent climate change.

In his ruling, Lane County Circuit Court Judge Karsten Rasmussen agreed with the state's argument that as a judge, he lacks authority to essentially rewrite state laws. He rejected the teens' central argument that Oregon's public trust doctrine applies to the atmosphere, water and beaches. 19 year old plaintiff Kelsey Juliana says she's disappointed but undaunted.
"This is extremely important to me. It will never be a, I've given up, time to go home. I think we'll always come back and keep pushing because that's what this crisis, that's what this phenomenon that is climate change, requires."
Judge Rasmussen dismissed the case in 2012, saying it was a question for the Legislature and the governor. The state Court of Appeals ruled last year that he did have jurisdiction.
The case was filed in 2011 when plaintiffs Kelsey Juliana and Olivia Chernaik were 15 and 11 years old.
Their attorney says they'll appeal.

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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