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2024 Montana Primary elections

Briefs: Held vs. Montana appeal; Emergency shelter funding

Mining and coal interests signal opposition to landmark climate ruling
Montana Public Radio | By Ellis Juhlin

A coalition of mining and coal interests have signed on in support of the state in an ongoing dispute before the Montana Supreme Court over climate change.

The industry groups filed a friend of the court briefing in the youth-led climate case Held v. Montana.

In the filing, the groups said their involvement makes sense given their vested interest in continued development of the state’s fossil fuel resources.

The industry backing comes from the Montana Association of Oil, Gas and Coal Counties, the Montana Coal Council, Mining Association and Westmoreland Mining company. They shared concerns about economic losses should the Supreme Court rule in favor of the 16 youth plaintiffs.

The Montana Taxpayers Association and the United Property Owners of Montana, along with two free market think tanks are also part of the brief.

In August, a district court found the state’s energy policies violated the plaintiff’s constitutional right to a healthy environment. The groups classify the judge’s ruling as judicial overreach, arguing that climate change is a policy issue and can only be addressed by lawmakers.

By filing an amicus brief, the groups are expressing their support of the state’s appeal to the Supreme Court, but will not be directly involved in the case. That appeal was filed last week.

Montana nonprofits will share millions to support local homeless and emergency shelters
Montana Public Radio | By Edward O'Brien

A handful of Montana non-profits will share millions of dollars of state money in support of local homeless and emergency shelters.

The $5 million will be used to help local shelters with new construction, renovations and acquisition of additional space.

It will be divvied up between 10 recipients in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Hamilton, Kalispell and Missoula. Good Samaritan Ministries of Helena conditionally received over $550,000 and is subject to securing a new shelter location.

The funding comes from a grant program through the state Commerce Department.

Most of the recipients serve Montana’s growing homeless population.

One notable exception is the Hamilton-based SAFE in the Bitterroot, the county’s only provider of emergency shelter and services for survivors of domestic and intimate partner abuse.

According to a recent U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report, Montana saw a 550% increase in individuals experiencing chronic homelessness since 2007.

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.
Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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