Federal appeals court rules that climate lawsuit filed by young people won't move forward | KNKX

Federal appeals court rules that climate lawsuit filed by young people won't move forward

Jan 17, 2020

A lawsuit filed by 21 young people against the federal government nearly five years ago in Eugene should not go to trial. That’s according to a ruling from a panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

But attorneys for the plaintiffs in the case say it’s far from over, despite Friday’s decision.

The lawsuit demands the federal government change its energy policy and work to reverse the effects of climate change.

Seattle attorney Andrea Rodgers says two of the three judges accepted all of their arguments that youth are suffering injuries due to government conduct. But the court ruled it can do nothing to remedy that constitutional violation.

“That’s a ruling that we do not believe is well-grounded in law. I think the dissent articulated nicely why that’s incorrect,” Rodgers said. “So we intend to file a petition for review.”

It’s something the full court should weigh in on, she added, saying the plaintiffs are ready to go to trial and make their arguments before the 9th Circuit in San Francisco. 

The lawsuit argues that federal policies — such as permits for energy projects that increase greenhouse gas emissions and cause climate change — undermine the rights of young people to life, liberty and property.

The federal suit was filed in Eugene, Oregon, five years ago by 21 young people.

Similar lawsuits are underway in several states, including one in Washington in which Rodgers represents the plaintiffs, who are challenging Gov. Jay Inslee and the state Department of Ecology. Oral arguments are pending in that case.