Montana Supreme Court books date for youth climate showdown

Source: By Lesley Clark, E&E News • Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2024

State officials are fighting a landmark victory for young environmental activists.

A photo collage of images of several children who are suing Montana over climate issues.

The young people who sued Montana over climate issues include (top row, left to right) Sariel Sandoval, Kian Tanner, Claire Vlases and Mica Kantor; (middle row, left to right) Eva Lightiser, Grace Gibson-Snyder, Badge Busse, Georgianna Fischer and Taleah Hernandez; and (bottom row, left to right) Nathaniel King, Lilian D., Lander Busse and Rikki Held. POLITICO illustration; photos courtesy of Our Children’s Trust

Montana’s highest court has scheduled oral arguments over a first-of-its-kind legal ruling that found the state had violated young people’s rights to a stable climate.

The Montana Supreme Court said Monday that it will hear arguments in the case July 10 in Helena. The hearing date is nearly one year after a lower court ruled that state lawmakers had violated the Montana Constitution by barring agencies from considering the climate effects of fossil fuel projects. The state immediately appealed the decision.

Attorneys for the young climate activists behind Held v. Montana said they look forward to defending their win.

“We are grateful to have the opportunity for the 16 Held plaintiffs to present their case to the Montana Supreme Court and remain confident in our legal arguments and in the compelling evidentiary record the court will review,” said Nate Bellinger, one of the attorneys from Our Children’s Trust, the Oregon-based law firm that represented the young challengers.