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  • 1440 Daily Digest

Montana Climate Ruling

A Montana state court yesterday ruled in favor of a group of young people who claimed the state's policies violated their constitutional right to a clean environment by prohibiting agencies from considering the effects of greenhouse gas emissions. The case is the first of its kind in the US to have gone to trial.

At issue in Held v. Montana are a pair of state laws, including an amendment to the Montana Environmental Policy Act, which prevent the state from evaluating climate impacts when approving energy and mining projects. Sixteen youths sued the state, citing Montana's constitution guarantees the right to a "clean and healthful environment." Only two other state constitutions have such language: Pennsylvania and New York.

The judge invalidated Montana's policies, ruling the limitations didn't protect the state's natural resources from depletion and that its degradation would continue without a remedy. The judge also noted the state didn't adequately explain its reasoning for setting the limitations. See the ruling here.

Montana is home to the largest recoverable coal reserves in the US, accounting for nearly 30% of the nation's total. See an overview of greenhouse gases here.

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