Ore. judge hears arguments in teens' revived climate change lawsuit; ruling to come later

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EUGENE, Oregon — An Oregon judge has heard arguments in a case brought by two Eugene teens who have spent years contending that the state is failing to take adequate steps to stave off climate change.

The Register-Guard reports (http://is.gd/loULRn ) that 19-year-old Kelsey Juliana and 14-year-old Olivia Chernaik and their lawyers want Lane County Circuit Judge Karsten Rasmussen to rule that the atmosphere is a resource that state officials have a duty to protect on behalf of the public.

The teens originally filed suit in 2011. Rasmussen dismissed the case in 2012, saying he was being asked to do a job that should fall to the Legislature and the governor. However, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled last year that Rasmussen does have jurisdiction to consider the lawsuit's merits.

Attorneys representing state government say Oregon already has passed a number of regulations to protect the environment. Lawyers for the teens contend that the state's carbon emission reduction plan is too weak.

After Tuesday's two-hour hearing, Rasmussen is expected to issue a written ruling in the coming weeks.


Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com

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