Landmark climate lawsuit involving UO students will proceed

Exterior of the Wayne Morse Federal Courthouse in Eugene.

A lawsuit filed by 21 young people, including two University of Oregon students, will move forward to trial after a federal appeals court rejected a government motion for dismissal.

The suit seeks to compel the government to take more aggressive steps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, arguing that the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights have been violated because federal agencies have failed to protect “essential public trust resources.” It claims the government created a national energy system that is doing long-term damage to the environment, imperiling their futures.

An Oct. 29 trial date has been set.

The suit was filed by 21 plaintiffs who were between 8 and 19 years old when it was filed. Two of them, Kelsey Juliana and Tia Hatton, are now students at the UO. The plaintiffs are represented by Our Children’s Trust.

The Trump administration sought to stop the suit with an appeal to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. But a three-judge panel unanimously rejected the request, saying the issues raised by the government could be better dealt with at the trial level.

U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken is scheduled to hear the case at the federal courthouse in Eugene.

The appelate decision was covered by numerous media outlets. For a sample, see "Trump administration just failed to stop a climate lawsuit brought by 21 kids" in The Washington Post. Information also is available on the Our Children's Trust website.