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

Josh Burnham
Montana Public Radio

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.

Copyright 2023 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Ellis Juhlin