Protesters gather for climate change rally in Eugene

Climate change activists are on the steps of the federal courthouse in Eugene, protesting a recent ruling in a court battle between several young activists and the federal government.

Posted: Oct 29, 2018 9:09 AM
Updated: Oct 30, 2018 5:31 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Protesters took to the steps of the federal courthouse in Eugene Monday morning in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling halting the climate change lawsuit from going to trial. 

The lawsuit was filed by 21 children and young adults who claim that the government has known that carbon pollution causes climate change but hasn't curbed greenhouse gas emissions. 

The plaintiffs and the community members supporting them said they want their voices to be heard.

"It's life. We are fighting for our lives," Libby Bottero said. "Not just for our families, our communities, but the future of our planet."

Earlier this year, the government tried to put a stop to the suit, but the U.S. Supreme Court rejected that request. Because of that, the trial was supposed to start in Eugene on Oct. 29. 

More than a week ago, the Justice Department tried to get the case dismissed again, and the high court ended up temporarily halting the case so it can be reviewed further before moving forward. 

The Supreme Court said they needed more information.

So, instead of having their voices heard in the courtroom, activists took to the streets, hoping to put pressure on officials to set a new court date.

"Hopefully these voices will all be heard and they will recognize the importance and the eminence of dealing with climate change," said Philip Gregory, the co-counsel for the plaintiffs.

Gregory said once the court date is set the trial could last into January.

Supporters came from all over the community.

A group of students from South Eugene High School even organized a march starting at the school, and they walked all the way down so they could join the other community members at the federal courthouse.

Students marching said they want to protect the climate for future generations. Some said they'll be the next generation leading the country, and they want to speak up now.

"I hope they see how powerful the youth is and how we're not going to give up," Katrina Baker said.

However, not everyone agrees.

"This is tying up the courts," one man said about the rally.

The man, who said his name was Zack, called the rally a distraction. He said community members should be focusing on different issues.

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