Mary Wood explains how she and the plaintiffs believe the federal government has violated the public trust doctrine. She was one of six key speakers advocating that their case proceed to the Supreme Court. (Vicente Mather // The Torch)

After the Juliana v. US case was delayed, the front-runners of the case met up at the Wildish Community Theatre on Nov. 7 to update constituents on their mission, their stance and the status of the case itself.

The plaintiffs claim that throughout the last two administrations, the executive branch of the federal government has made little to no effort to reduce CO2 emissions and has made no progress in remedying global warming. The Our Children’s Trust organization finds the lack of effort and progress to be a violation of the Public Trust Doctrine.

“Citizens everywhere could use the public trust because it’s in every legal system in the world, some seeds of it… They could sue their governments to force carbon reduction.”

  – Mary Wood, University of Oregon professor and expert in environmental law,

As quoted in the previous edition of The Torch, it is the trustee’s job to take care of natural resources and Our Children’s Trust does not think they are fulfilling that duty.

“The federal government has both constitutional duties and public trust obligations to protect a stable climate system and recover it,” Wood said.

“…this is not a case about any one administration.”

– Coreal Riday-White, Our Children’s Trust program manager.

The organization hopes that the case will lead to a climate remediation plan.“This case was originally filed in 2015, of course [the Trump administration] were not in office then,” Coreal Riday-White, program manager of Our Children’s Trust, said. “The original defendants were President Barack Obama and the heads of his agencies. It’s important to note that because this is not a case about any one administration.”

Riday-White explained that the government is making decisions on a daily basis that have affected the amount of CO2 the country emits. This includes the pipelines and fossil fuel excavation.  

Coreal Riday-White explains the current status of the Juliana V. US case at a climate meetup in Springfield on Nov. 7. The case, which includes 21 plaintiffs between the ages of 10 and 22, is spurring the federal government to relinquish its interest in unsustainable energy like oil and gas.

“The United States is responsible for a full one-quarter of all CO2 emissions,” Riday-White said.

The defendants attempted to dismiss this case outright on multiple arguments but District Court Judge Ann Aiken didn’t buy any of the claims and ultimately decided to continue the case.

“The Trump administration is doing everything it can possibly think of to prevent this trial.”

– Mary Wood

“Please continue following along with this case,” Kelsey Juliana, who co-filed the case, said. “Show up to these events, write letters, help support in any way you can.”