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Youth Climate Lawsuit Could Go To Trial This Summer

5 of the 21 youth plaintiffs applaud their attorneys after pre-trial conference at Eugene Federal Courthouse.
Rachael McDonald
/
5 of the 21 youth plaintiffs applaud their attorneys after pre-trial conference at Eugene Federal Courthouse.

The lawsuit brought by 21 youth plaintiffs against the federal government over climate change could go to trial this summer. [Today,] Tuesday, Eugene Federal Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin met with attorneys in a pre-trial conference. The courtroom was packed with local climate activists.

5 of the 21 youth plaintiffs applaud their attorneys after pre-trial conference at Eugene Federal Courthouse.
Credit Rachael McDonald
/
5 of the 21 youth plaintiffs applaud their attorneys after pre-trial conference at Eugene Federal Courthouse.

The lawsuit holds the government responsible for human caused climate change and asks for remedy. Attorneys for the government have acknowledged the reality of climate change; still they’re fighting the lawsuit. After the meeting, plaintiffs’ Attorney Julia Olson said while it’s unclear how a Trump administration affects this case…

Olson: “I think it’s really a sad state when The Department of Justice, which is supposed to work on behalf of the American People, is, right now, focused on winning the case. Bringing in experts to dispute facts that maybe the government knows are true, and the judge was really clear that, don’t fight this just to fight it.”

Attorneys for defendants told Judge Coffin they need more time to prepare for the case. But plaintiffs say time is the enemy because the climate situation keeps getting worse. The defendant’s attorney says they’re still seeking a way to appeal Coffin’s denial of their motion to dismiss the case. Petroleum industry groups have intervened in the case on behalf of the defendants. 

 

Copyright 2017 KLCC

Rachael McDonald is News Director at KLCC. She’s been with the station for more than 10 years. Previously, she established the Richland, Washington bureau for the Northwest News Network. She also worked as News Director at KAZU in Monterey, California. Rachael has won numerous awards for her reporting.