Montana court sides with young people on environmental issues

by ian

On Monday, a court in Montana ruled in favor of a group of youths who sued the state over climate change.

The lawsuit had alleged that the state of Montana took insufficient measures to protect the group from climate change. In her ruling, District Judge Kathy Seeley struck down a Montana law that prohibited the consideration of climate impacts when approving energy projects.

Her ruling read in part:

…the Limitation violates Youth Plaintiffs’ right to a clean and healthful environment and is unconstitutional on its face.

Although previous attempts at suing the federal government for not addressing climate change have failed, the plaintiffs reportedly won the case due to a provision in the Montana state constitution that grants a right to a “clean and healthful environment.”

Julia Olsen, the lawyer representing Our Children’s Trust, the group that sued the state, called the ruling a “sweeping win” and promised additional lawsuits. Olsen claimed that climate change unfairly harmed young people and that Montana’s failure to act violated their civil rights.