Oregon environmental law

On November 10, 2016, Judge Ann Aiken, a federal district judge in Oregon, issued a remarkable environmental law decision in which she found that a climate system “capable of sustaining human life” is a fundamental constitutional right.[1] Juliana v. United States challenges the constitutionality of the United States’ decades-long policy on climate change.[2] The plaintiffs, a group of 21 children and young adults, sued the United States and various government officials[3] alleging that they have known for more than five decades “that the carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels was destabilizing the climate system in a way that would ‘significantly endanger plaintiffs, with the damage persisting for millennia.’”[4] According to the plaintiffs, the defendants have failed to take necessary action to curtail fossil fuel emissions, and the government and its agencies “have taken action or failed to take action that has resulted in increased carbon pollution through fossil fuel extraction, production, consumption, transportation, and exportation.”[5]


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