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Judge: Youth Climate Change Lawsuit Against Feds Can Proceed


Police move on a group of protesters blocking the tracks at the BNSF Railway station in Vancouver, Washington, on Saturday, June 18, 2016.

Police move on a group of protesters blocking the tracks at the BNSF Railway station in Vancouver, Washington, on Saturday, June 18, 2016.

Bradley W. Parks/OPB

U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken on Thursday rejected requests from the federal government and trade groups representing many of the world’s largest energy companies to dismiss a climate change lawsuit brought by a group of youth plaintiffs and a leading climate scientist.

“This is no ordinary lawsuit,” Aiken wrote in a strongly worded, 54-page opinion and order that explains her ruling, which opens a pathway for the case to potentially proceed to trial.

Aiken in September heard arguments in the case in U.S. District Court in Eugene. The lawsuit seeks to require federal officials to drastically reduce carbon emissions that many scientists say contribute to climate change.

Lawyers for the government and trade groups representing energy giants such as Exxon Mobil and BP argued that the suit should be dismissed because it fails to state valid legal claims, and it centers on issues that should be decided by ­federal agencies and lawmakers. They also contended that the plaintiffs lack standing to bring the lawsuit.

To read more, visit the Register-Guard.

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