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State Appeals Court Rules Against Climate Plaintiffs

Ollie Chernaik (left), and Kelsey Juliana. They were 11 and 14 when they filed the climate lawsuit in Lane County Circuit Court in 2011.
Our Children's Trust
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Ollie Chernaik (left), and Kelsey Juliana. They were 11 and 14 when they filed the climate lawsuit in Lane County Circuit Court in 2011.

The Oregon Court of Appeals ruled against two young people in a climate lawsuit against the state. The plaintiffs plan to appeal to the State Supreme Court.

Ollie Chernaik (left), and Kelsey Juliana. They were 11 and 14 when they filed the climate lawsuit in Lane County Circuit Court in 2011.
Credit Our Children's Trust
/
Ollie Chernaik (left), and Kelsey Juliana. They were 11 and 14 when they filed the climate lawsuit in Lane County Circuit Court in 2011.

Kelsey Juliana and Ollie Chernaik filed the climate lawsuit against the state of Oregon in 2011 in Lane County Circuit Court. The plaintiffs were then 11 and 14 years old.

Juliana, who’s now 22, says she’s shocked by the Appeals Court decision.

“I’m just really disappointed that my state didn’t recognize the opportunity to be a leader and they rejected an opportunity to act courageously and morally.”

The appeals Court ruled that the common law public trust doctrine does not put an obligation on the state to protect public trust resources like Oregon’s beaches and mountains from the effects of climate change. The court took 2 years to issue the decision. Attorney Julia Olson, who represents the young plaintiffs, says the Appeals Court got it wrong.

They plan to take the case to the Oregon Supreme Court. There is a separate climate lawsuit brought by 21 youths, including Juliana, against the federal government.

Copyright 2019 KLCC.

Copyright 2019 KLCC

Rachael McDonald
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.