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How an ambitious lawsuit reshaped environmental law — without ever going to trial

caption: Wildfire smoke drifts through Snoqualmie Pass in 2017.
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Wildfire smoke drifts through Snoqualmie Pass in 2017.

In 2015 “Our Children’s Trust” took aim at what they thought was a major contributor to ongoing climate problems: that the U.S. government had continued to permit, authorize and subsidize fossil fuel extraction. So, along with 21 plaintiffs whose ages ranged from 8 to 19 years old, they sued the U.S. government.

Even though Juliana V United States has never actually gone to trial after 9 years of arguments, the ambition behind the litigation has made an impact on environmental law and helped inspire other climate cases involving young people around the world.

Soundside host Libby Denkmann spoke with Mary Wood, a Philip H. Knight Professor of Law at the University of Oregon and Faculty Director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center at the University of Oregon. Also featured are Mat dos Santos, the Co-Executive Director and General Counsel for “Our Children’s Trust,” and Jacob Lebel, one of the 21 plaintiffs for Juliana V United States.

Listen to the full Soundside segment by clicking "play" on the audio icon at the top of this story.

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