Montana Supreme Court takes up kids’ climate case

Source: By Lesley Clark, E&E News • Posted: Wednesday, July 10, 2024

The court’s decision could make or break a landmark victory for young climate activists.

The Montana Supreme Court.

The fate of a landmark legal victory for young climate activists now rests in the hands of the Montana Supreme Court, which will hear arguments in the case Wednesday. Lesley Clark/POLITICO’s E&E News

Montana’s highest court will soon decide the fate of a landmark legal victory for young climate activists that upended the state’s approach to fossil fuel development.

Oral arguments scheduled for Wednesday morning in the Montana Supreme Court come nearly a year to the day after a state judge found that the youth have a constitutional right to a stable climate and struck down laws that bar state agencies from considering climate effects.

The decision, which resulted from a first-of-its-kind U.S. youth climate trial, has inspired similar litigation in other parts of the country. The ruling has prompted the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to hold “listening sessions” to help it revamp state law and has been cited in a push for the Montana Public Service Commission to include climate effects in regulatory decisions.

State officials are now asking the Montana Supreme Court to put a stop to that work.