😎 Summer Sale Exclusive - Up to 50% off AI-powered stock picks by InvestingProCLAIM SALE

Montana urges state top court to overturn landmark climate ruling

Published 07/10/2024, 06:09 AM
Updated 07/10/2024, 03:55 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An extension of Denbury Inc's Greencore carbon pipeline is ready to be lowered into its trench, in Montana, U.S., 2021. Denbury/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

By Nate Raymond

(Reuters) -Montana's top court on Wednesday appeared open to upholding a landmark ruling that found the state violated the rights of young people to a healthy environment by barring regulators from considering how new fossil fuel projects could affect climate change.

Several justices on the seven-member Montana Supreme Court appeared skeptical of the Republican-led state's contention that the 16 young people in the case lacked legal standing to challenge a restriction on agencies' ability to consider greenhouse gas emissions when issuing permits.

In urging the justices to overturn District Court Judge Kathy Seeley's 2023 ruling, Mark Stermitz, a lawyer for the state, said even if human factors contributed to climate change, "that doesn't mean that we feel that this global problem can be influenced in any way by a state district court judge in Montana."

Montana Supreme Court Justice Laurie McKinnon, though, said the plaintiffs who filed the case in 2020 wanted to ensure the agencies could at least consider the impact of emissions, a potential "first step" to objecting to potential permits.

"They can't even get there right now with that limitation," she said.

Roger Sullivan, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, urged the justices to uphold Seeley's ruling blocking the restriction. He said it "closes the eyes of Montana's environmental agencies to the most serious environmental crisis Montana has ever experienced, the climate crisis."

In her ruling, Seeley found the young people had a fundamental right to a clean and healthful environment under a 1972 amendment to Montana's constitution requiring the state to protect and improve the environment.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An extension of Denbury Inc's Greencore carbon pipeline is ready to be lowered into its trench, in Montana, U.S., 2021. Denbury/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

The closely watched case was the first such challenge by young environmental activists to go to trial in the U.S. These suits object to state and federal policies that they say encourage or allow the extraction and burning of fossil fuels and violate their rights under U.S. or state constitutions.

While some of those cases have faltered, the youth activists last month scored a major victory when Hawaii agreed as part of a first-in-the-nation settlement to take action to decarbonize its transportation system by 2045.

Latest comments

Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
© 2007-2024 - Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.