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Oregon appeals court rejects kids’ climate change lawsuit

January 9, 2019

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s Court of Appeals has rejected a lawsuit filed by children years ago that seeks to force the state to do more to protect public resources from climate change.

The case, filed in 2011, says the “public trust” doctrine under Oregon common law requires the state to protect resources like beaches and rivers by cutting greenhouse gas emissions. But the appeals court held Wednesday that the doctrine merely restricts the state from selling off or impairing the public use of such trusts, rather than imposing any duty on the state to protect them.

Julia Olson, executive director of the group Our Children’s Trust, said the appeals court “got it wrong” and the plaintiffs will appeal.

The lawsuit is one of several by children and young adults around the country that are trying to force more state action to combat climate change. One of those cases is pending in federal court in Eugene, Oregon.

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