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Montana youth sue state over energy policy, climate change

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“Town Crier” newsletter – Briefs from the Region (2) – 3/18/20

A group of 16 young Montanans from Missoula, Bozeman, Helena, Kalispell, Livingston, Bigfork, Polson, Broadus and the Flathead Indian Reservation, ranging in age from 2 to 18, have sued the state of Montana, Gov. Steve Bullock, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, the Montana Department of Transportation, and the Montana Public Service Commission over an alleged breach of constitutional rights pertaining to a clean environment. The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit on March 13 in Lewis and Clark County District Court, claiming the state’s energy policy is infringing on that right. The youngsters seek judicial remedy since most are not of voting age. “Here, 16 courageous youth from across Montana … are looking to the judiciary to protect their constitutional rights from conduct by the State of Montana that promotes fossil fuels, contributes to the climate crisis, and is causing these youth plaintiffs grave harm,” said Nate Bellinger, co-counsel for the youth and senior staff attorney with Our Children’s Trust, according to Courthouse News. The plaintiffs are also challenging a provision in the Montana Environmental Policy act, one that prohibits the consideration of climate impacts when state regulatory agencies make permit decisions over fossil fuel development.

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