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2024 Montana Primary elections
Montana news about the environment, natural resources, wildlife, climate change and more.

Judge tells state to prepare for trial over climate suit brought by youth plaintiffs

Missoula High School students join in the nationwide "climate strike", March 15, 2019.
Josh Burnham
Missoula High School students join in the nationwide "climate strike", March 15, 2019.

A Montana judge is telling state attorneys to continue preparing for trial after they argued to stop a lawsuit brought by children challenging energy and climate policies.

The 16 youth plaintiffs say Montana is violating their constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment through its policies encouraging fossil fuel production.

Montana’s assistant attorney general argued recent legislative changes to the state’s energy policy goals, and regulations excluding greenhouse gas emissions from environmental assessments, invalidated the plaintiff’s arguments.

Lewis and Clark County District Court Judge Kathy Seeley was skeptical of the state’s argument saying she didn’t think the passage of either bill affected the merits of this case. A two week trial is scheduled to start June 12.

Our Children’s Trust, which represents the plaintiffs, has brought litigation in more than a half dozen states, however the Montana lawsuit is the first case advancing to trial due to the state’s constitutional protection to a clean and healthful environment.

Ellis Juhlin is MTPR's Rocky Mountain Front reporter. Ellis previously worked as a science reporter at Utah Public Radio and a reporter at Yellowstone Public Radio. She has a Master's Degree in Ecology from Utah State University. She's an average birder and wants you to keep your cat indoors. She has two dogs, one of which is afraid of birds.

ellis.juhlin@mso.umt.edu
406-272-2568
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