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Young people in Montana file a state constitutional case against climate change



Helena, Montana – The first juvenile climate change case in the country established roots in the state’s capital and began a legal proceeding, making history in the Treasure State.

Judge Kathy Seeley is presiding on Held v. Montana, which is now in court in Helena.

Young Montanans who are concerned about the state’s response to climate change have filed a lawsuit against the government.

These young people contend that by continuing to promote an energy system based on fossil fuels, the state of Montana is not upholding its constitutional obligation to establish a clean, safe, and healthy environment to live.

Additionally, they claim that the ongoing use of fossil fuels is contributing to the current climate problem.

The young plaintiffs are suing the state government as a result for this as well as a right to decide on matters pertaining to the world they will be held accountable for.

They have the right to participate in that process, according to one witness, Dr. Stephen Running.

The underlying idea, according to Runnings, is that young children will be the ones to experience the effects of climate change. So why can not they fight the system in court to start reducing the use of fossil fuels and starting to stabilize the climate?

On June 12, Roger Sullivan, an attorney for the young plaintiffs with Mcgarvey Law, gave his opening statement. He discussed how all 16 of the Held 16 have experienced direct and negative effects of climate change at some point in their lives and claimed that if the State does not start giving up fossil fuels, those effects will only worsen over time.

The first witness called to testify was Mae Nan Ellingson. Ellingson took part in the constitution-making process in Montana in 1972. Dr. Steven Running then presented his results from his in-depth analysis on climate change, noting that at the time it was the only one of its kind to have a constitutional right to a “clean and healthy environment” in accordance with Article II Section 3. Where he claims that human-generated greenhouse gas emissions, or emissions caused by human activities, are the primary cause of the current climate destabilization.

To conclude the trial, named plaintiff Rikki, together with named plaintiffs Grace and Eva, gave their testimonies. Each plaintiff described the direct effects of the current climate disaster on themselves. from floods to fires.

Dr. Cathy Whitlock was called to the witness stand on June 13. Whitlock is an earth scientist at Montana State University who specializes in paleoclimatology and environmental change. A lead author on the 2017 Montana Climate Assessment was Whitlock.

Mica, the plaintiff, was then mentioned. Mica claimed that the presence of wildfire smoke frequently prevented or curtailed his love of the outdoors and recreational pursuits.

Later on the witness stand, plaintiff Badge echoed Mica’s comparable experiences. Moreover, he mentioned that wildfire had before put his family and property in danger.

Dr. Dan Fagre, a 30-year veteran of the Department of the Interior, spoke before Badge and discussed the disappearing glaciers in Glacier National Park. The glaciers in Montana have been around for 7,000 years, but according to Dr. Fagre, many will vanish within the plaintiffs’ lifetimes.

Dr. Lori Byron, a pediatrician, concluded the day by stating that children are more susceptible to the effects of climate change and that these changes are already having a negative impact on the plaintiffs’ quality of life.

On June 14, the court heard Dr. Byron’s final testimony and allowed the defense to question her.

Michael Durglo and Shane Doyle both contributed.

as well as Sariel and Taleah, two young plaintiffs.

Out of the numerous child climate change lawsuits filed across the nation, this is the first one that has officially reached trial.

The trial is scheduled to last until Friday, June 23.


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