Trump's Secretary of State Nominee Faces Deposition in Eugene Climate-Change Lawsuit

Oregon kids have accused the federal government of allowing the fossil-fuels industry to destroy the planet.

Rex Tillerson, the longtime ExxonMobil chairman and Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of state, will soon face a grilling by Oregon environmental lawyers.

The lawyers, Julia Olson and Daniel Galpern, filed a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Eugene in August 2015 that accuses the federal government of allowing the fossil-fuels industry to destroy the planet.

Tillerson may testify in that case as early as Jan. 19, in Dallas, Tex.—although a spokeswoman for Olson's organization, Our Children's Trust, tells WW that Tillerson will likely try to delay, given that he is still awaiting confirmation by Congress for his new job.

Tillerson's efforts to avoid testifying were first reported by Reuters.

"Tillerson is required to attend the deposition on the 19th, but we anticipate his attorneys might try to reschedule," Meg Ward of Our Children's Trust writes. The group is "in negotiations about timing and process of getting Tillerson to the deposition."

The plaintiffs, 21 young people including Oregonians, allege that U.S. government promotion of fossil fuels has deprived them of their Constitutional rights, and that "instead of pursuing their own plans to slash emissions and reduce the risk of dangerous climate change, [federal agencies] knowingly acted to exacerbate that risk and impose harm on the nation."

The case cleared a major hurdle last November when U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken rejected government and oil industry arguments that it ought to be dismissed.

Correction: This story originally stated the case was brought by five young Oregonians. In fact, the case has 21 plaintiffs from nine states, including Oregon.