Lawsuit filed by Montana youth climate activists against state officials set for trial: report

Lawsuit filed by Montana youth climate activists against state officials set for trial: report

A group of 16 youth are suing "the State of Montana, its governor and other state officials" alleging they continue to be "harmed by the dangerous effects of fossil fuels and the climate crisis," Truthout reports.

Per Truthout, "Montana is one of three states in the United States that enshrines the right to a healthy environment in its state constitution," as "Pennsylvania and New York "have similar constitutional protections."

With that, the youth plaintiffs — who were between ages 2 and 18 at the time of the suit filing in 2020 — managed to file "the first such case about climate change to go to trial," since it "involves the specific impacts the climate crisis has on young people."

READ MORE: 'Is this the future?' Studies back Sanders’ concern about climate impacts on kids’ mental health

The Montana Supreme Court, according to Truthout, denied "the defendants' 11th hour petition for the extraordinary remedy of a writ of supervisory control, asking the state's high court to dismiss the case," and trial is set to begin June 12.

According to the plaintiffs' complaint, "'Fossil fuel extraction and combustion and the resulting climate crisis harms public health and welfare and is already contributing to an increase in asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease, stroke, heat-related morbidity and mortality, food-borne diseases, and neurological diseases and disorders."

Truthout reports:

Montana, which has the nation's largest coal reserves, has warmed more than most of the contiguous states in the U.S. because northern latitudes heat faster, the complaint says. Due to the warming climate, Montana’s snowpack has been decreasing and is likely to continue decreasing with rising temperatures. Wildfires — which impact ecosystems, property and livelihoods — are expected to get significantly worse unless immediate steps are taken to limit global heating.

Our Children's Trust general counsel Mat dos Santos, who represents the plaintiffs, insisted the youth's legal action "is not just about Montana. It's really about the climate here in the United States and around the world," adding a lawsuit win "would be a 'watershed moment' that could lead to a 'cascade of legal victories around the country,'" with "global implications."

READ MORE: Climate groups blast debt ceiling deal provisions that cripple environmental protections

Truthout's full report is available at this link.

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