Precedent Setting Youth Climate Case In Montana Courts Now
In Montana, we put our land and our citizens first. Back in 1972, the Montana State Constitution was rewritten for the citizens of Big Sky Country stating that we all have the right to "a clean and healthful environment for “present and future generations ." That re-write is being put to the test in Helena.
First Of It's Kind Climate Lawsuit
From Reuters: Yesterday, (6/12/23), 16 young Montanans went to court against the state, looking for accountability for fossil fuel-friendly policies that are believed to make global warming worse and ruining their future in Montana.
Montana's 2023 Legislative Session
The Flathead Beacon reported that in the 2023 Legislative session, industry-friendly measures were passed that keep coal and other fossil fuels in the forefront of Montana energy production.
For example, bills were passed that repeal the entirety of the Montana Energy Policy, stop state agencies from including the analysis of greenhouse gas or other climate related impacts in environmental reviews, loosened coal-mining regulations, prohibits local governments from passing legislation that leans toward cleaner energy sources and make it harder to litigate for environmental groups.
How Did This Make It To Court?
From NBC News, our constitution. The promise to Montanans for a clean and healthful environment for future generations carries a lot of weight here.
State District Judge Judge Kathy Seeley narrowed the scope of the suit, but didn't deny the right of these Montanans to their day in court.
What Are Montana Attorneys Saying?
They defend the legislature's moves by saying Montana's impact on the environment is minimal and best addressed through legislation and not the courts.
The Outcome Of This Case Will Ripple All Over The World
There are similar cases in a few other states like Oregon and Hawaii. None have made it to court. It's said if the youth win this, it can be used as an example world-wide.
We'll keep you up to date as the case develops.