The Montana Kids Prevailed Thanks to Science


Earlier this summer, we published a story about 16 kids from Montana who were suing the state over its contribution to climate change. At this time, the AP stated that a favorable decision could be used to bolster climate change efforts in other states.

Well, we are happy to report that the kids have prevailed.

Last week, a Montana judge handed a significant victory to the children stating that the state is violating the right to a clean environment for citizens and residents. The judge ruled that state lawmakers disregarded Montana’s constitutional right to a “clean and healthful environment” when they passed a law barring agencies from considering the climate effects of fossil fuel projects.

According to this article in The Conversation, Pennsylvania, Montana, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Illinois all have green amendments, which ensure that environmental health and safety are part of a citizen’s basic civil liberties.

Thanks to these green amendments, there’s a strong possibility that climate advocates will rely on the Montana youth case as they challenge state laws that promote fossil fuels.

The key to the success of this case came down to the power of science. Here’s what lead attorney Julia Olson, who represented the 16 children in the landmark case, said in a Nature Magazine interview:

“The science is foundational to our cases, and we bring in the best science we can through expert testimony. The people we work with — like the experts who testified in Montana on behalf of the plaintiffs — most have never testified in court before. What was just amazing was having these world-renowned scientists take the stand and tell the story of the work they’ve been doing for large parts of their career and just feel so validated.”

Congratulation to these 16 children who are shaping the future of climate legislation in the United States!

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