Montana Youth Win a Historic Climate Case

THIS STORY ORIGINALLY appeared on Grist and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

A state judge in Montana gave climate activists a decisive win on Monday when she ruled that the state’s support of fossil fuels violates their constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment.

District Court judge Kathy Seeley struck down as unconstitutional a state policy barring consideration of the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions in fossil fuel permitting. Her ruling establishes legal protection against broad harms caused by climate change and enshrines a state right to a world free from those harms, creating a potential foundation for future lawsuits across the country.

“We are heard!” Kian Tanner, one of the 16 youth plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said in a statement. He grew up near the Flathead River and testified to watching wildfires come ever closer to his home each year. “Frankly, the elation and joy in my heart is overwhelming in the best way. We set the precedent not only for the United States, but for the world.”


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