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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Montana attorney general appeals landmark youth climate change lawsuit

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus
Montana Public Radio

Montana’s attorney general is appealing a landmark district court ruling over the impact of human-caused climate change on young residents.

Attorney General Austin Knudsen has appealed District Court Judge Kathy Seeley’s decision to the Montana Supreme Court.

In August, Seeley ruled in favor of the 16-youth plaintiffs, agreeing that the state’s fossil fuel policies violate their constitutional right to a healthy environment.

Seeley’s decision concluded that Montana has disproportionately large greenhouse gas emissions. She overruled newly passed legislation that said the state didn’t need to consider climate change during environmental reviews for projects that could emit fossil fuels.

Last week, Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality announced a call for public input on how to shape the state’s environmental review process.

Knudsen has been vocal about his plans to appeal.

The appeal includes the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Department of Transportation and Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte, all of which were named defendants in the original case.

Plaintiffs can file a cross-appeal. It will be up to the Supreme Court to decide whether it will hear the case.

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.
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