Image 01 Image 03

Montana Judge Sides With Activists In ‘Children’s Climate Trial’

Montana Judge Sides With Activists In ‘Children’s Climate Trial’

Judge: Montana violated the plaintiffs’ rights to a “a clean and healthful environment” and equal protection under the Montana constitution.

The Montana judge overseeing the Children’s Climate Trial ruled in favor of the 16 child plaintiffs who “challenged the constitutionality of the State’s fossil fuel-based state energy system.” The judge agreed with the plaintiffs that Montana’s energy system violated the state constitution, which includes environmental rights and a guarantee of equal protection.

“This ruling is absurd,” Emily Flower of the Montana attorney general’s office told Legal Insurrection. “Montanans can’t be blamed for changing the climate. . . [The plaintiffs’] same legal theory has been thrown out of federal court and courts in more than a dozen states. . . The State will appeal.”

Montana’s constitution provides that “[t]he state and each person shall maintain and improve a clean and healthful environment in Montana for present and future generations.”

The plaintiffs argued that the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) violated this constitutional provision by barring the state from considering the impact of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions when conducting environmental reviews of proposed energy projects:

(2)(a) Except as provided in subsection (2)(b), an environmental review conducted pursuant to subsection (1) may not include an evaluation of greenhouse gas emissions and corresponding impacts to the climate in the state or beyond the state’s borders.

The court relied on testimony from several scientists, including experts in global ecology and Earth sciences, to support its conclusion that “[t]here is a scientific consensus that rising temperatures in Montana are due to rising GHG concentrations, primarily CO2.”

The decision included extensive findings of fact on the link between GHG emissions and the degradation of the environment in Montana:

140. Anthropogenic climate change is impacting, degrading, and depleting Montana’s environment and natural resources, including through increasing climate temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, increasing droughts and aridification, increasing extreme weather events, increasing severity and intensity of wildfires, and increasing glacial melt and lost. (citations omitted)

Given these findings, the judge held that MEPA violated the Montana constitution by preventing the state from assessing GHG emissions when approving energy projects. MEPA, the judge also found, kept the state from considering “alternatives to fossil fuel energy in Montana,” a further violation of the Montana constitution.

Relying on expert medical testimony, the judge found climate change is especially harmful to children:

104. Children are uniquely vulnerable to the consequences of climate change, which harms their physical and psychological health and safety, interferes with family and cultural foundations and integrity, and causes economic deprivations.

.     .     .

107. All children, even those without pre-existing conditions or illness, are a population sensitive to climate change because their bodies and minds are still developing. (citations omitted)

One youth plaintiff, Grace, reported psychological distress at the impact of climate change: “Grace feels fearful due to the glaciers disappearing from a state she loves.”

Sariel, a Native American youth plaintiff, complained of “significant distress due to the impacts of climate change on culturally important plants, and snow for creation stories. Her cultural connection to the land increases this impact.”

The judge also noted physiological differences between children and adults, making the former more susceptible to the effects of climate change:

121. Children have a higher basal metabolic rate, which makes it harder for them to dissipate heat from their bodies.

122. Children breathe in more air per unit of time than adults and consume more food and water proportional to their body weight, making children more susceptible to polluted or contaminated air, water, or food. (citations omitted)

Because of the unique harms suffered by children, the judge found MEPA denied them equal protection of the law in violation of the Montana constitution.

The judge “declared unconstitutional and . . . permanently enjoined” MEPA’s prohibition on assessing GHG emissions and awarded the plaintiffs “reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.”

The Western Environmental Law Center (WELC) and Our Children’s Trust (OCT) brought the action on behalf of the child plaintiffs and praised the outcome.

“[T]hese youth finally had the chance to explain to the judge, and the world, how Montana’s government is violating their constitutional rights, including their fundamental right to a clean and healthful environment,” according to a WELC press release.

OCT issued a press release calling the decision “an historic first” and predicted, “[m]ore rulings like this will certainly come.” The release highlights other OCT legal challenges in Utah, Virginia, and Hawaii, as well as a federal challenge.



Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


The judge also noted physiological differences between children and adults, making the former more susceptible to the effects of climate change”…. how about more susceptible to everything including deception?

    Concise in reply to alaskabob. | August 18, 2023 at 8:51 am

    I would note the psychological differences between adults and Montana state judges, making the latter stupid and biased.

    The American Psychological Association published a guidebook for diagnosing children as:

    gender smoothies,
    gender hybrids,
    gender prius[es],
    gender minotaur[s].

Hold on tight. We’re about to be deluged with tunloads of spectacular precedents by black-robed ninnies who prove daily that they haven’t the slightest idea how the Internet, guns, autos, AI, viruses, vaccines, or ven bsic statistics work.

Children should be seen and not heard.

For the woke left, there is no such thing as law, only power.

These people need to be punished. In some ways, the natural consequences of their actions will lead to a certain amount of punishment, but even after the cities burn, starve, and decay under their guidance, and lives and families are destroyed by their evil, there is still room for more punishment for the guilty.

The only way I think my mind can be changed on this is to have them genuinely atone for their sins.

Honestly, it’s Montana’s own fault for having such vague, open-ended claptrap in their constitution.

    guyjones in reply to Flatworm. | August 18, 2023 at 5:39 am

    Yeah; that sort of verbiage serves no practical purpose and can only lead to trouble, when exploited by dishonest, greasy and underhanded Dumb-o-crats — as it was in this case.

What an idiot judge ..: again

George_Kaplan | August 17, 2023 at 9:41 pm

Perhaps the government needs to show there is no scientific consensus over climate change, that CO2 is beneficial to plants, and that climate change indoctrination by teachers in schools and other sources is responsible for causing psychological distress. As for children being “… more susceptible to polluted or contaminated air, water, or food” that’s irrelevant since CO2 is not a pollutant..

    alaskabob in reply to George_Kaplan. | August 17, 2023 at 11:44 pm

    The horror!! Plants need CO2 and today’s levels are 1/4 of what they can best grow with. The hunger pains must be terrible… if they could only speak…..

      DaveGinOly in reply to alaskabob. | August 18, 2023 at 1:28 pm

      Correct! Because most plants are descendants of ancestors that evolved during a period of high atmospheric CO2 concentration, and so are better adapted to such an environment. More recently evolved plant (among them, if I recall correctly, are grasses) are adapted to the current, relatively low, percentage of atmospheric CO2.

This ruling is so moronic as to call into question the competency of this individual to serve as a judge. The idiot should be removed.

Well, that judge’s law degree certainly doesn’t act as an indicator of intelligence.

Apparently we’ve still yet to hit peak jackassery. May you live in interesting times.

District Court Judge Kathy Seeley

She was actually voted into office by her district. I wonder if the district knew she was an extremist.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair | August 18, 2023 at 12:44 am

This decision is beyond farcical. The “science” involved is the worst sort of joke.

Funny how the court is now calling it “Anthropogenic climate change” when it had been “Anthropogenic Global Warming” for so long …

This judge is a dangerous idiot and is proof that the best sort of law can do nothing to defend against the idiots and nihilists gaining the levers of power. The Founders wildly underestimated the depths to which Western peoples could sink.

Human contribution to “climate change” -if any- is actually too small to measure.

RepublicanRJL | August 18, 2023 at 6:32 am

Ya know, the ‘experts’ might be right. I now suffer from distress seeing how stupidity is reigning supreme and the courts agree.

I want to challenge the ruling for the sake of my sanity.

Do I now have standing?

Suburban Farm Guy | August 18, 2023 at 7:30 am

The ‘psychological damage’ comes from overly emotional idiot adults guilt-tripping them, telling them they’re killing all the little animals and destroying the planet just by living.

Suburban Farm Guy | August 18, 2023 at 7:37 am

Yes, 16-yr-olds are the font of all human wisdom. They know everything and better yet aren’t corrupted, especially those who are obvious geniuses with cheerful, bright solid-purple hair.

( do I really hafta? Ok…. /s )

I’m curious. Have these youths opened themselves to future countersuits where they will be possibly held liable ?

The judge allowed testimony from several experts that should never have been allowed to testify under the Montana statute governing expert testimony. Montana has a statute similar to the Federal Statute that governs expert testimony which follows the standard which complies with the Daubert standard.

Mark jacobson testified regarding renewable energy. He should never have been allowed to testify since his “expertise” (fake as it is) deals with renewable energy and not climate science.

The various physcologists testifying on the harms to the children should never been allowed to testify since their testimony did not deal with climate science. At least only tangently,

The Montana attorneys did FU’d the defense since there is no record that I could find that they even objected to the non relavent expert testimony.

So the Children’s Climate Crusade begins. Kids have been coached and indoctrinated to believe that we adults have ruined their future by burning oil and gas. Now kids are being organized to shut down that oil and gas, potentially threatening the future of states like MT, WV, and others with significant energy resources.

Why is no one organizing kids to object that adults have ruined their future by taking on huge federal debt that realistically can never be repaid ? Today’s kids will be stuck paying interest on the debt, thus jeopardizing federal spending on programs they might prefer.

Obviously climate-alarmism is more melodramatic than is debt-alarmism. Such is the state of affairs in today’s USA. I hope Montana appeals this ruling, but I’m not holding my breath for a favorable result.

Even if Montana does everything the idiot judge thinks they should do, with China and India not participating in the Green New Deals, there will be no effect except that people in Montana will be poorer and living in caves

Montana’s constitution provides that “[t]he state and each person shall maintain and improve a clean and healthful environment in Montana for present and future generations.”

Should their suit have been denied due to the children’s violation of the clean hands doctrine? They have a duty under the state’s constitution to “maintain and improve a clean and healthful environment in Montana.” Yet each of them benefits in innumerable ways by the use or petroleum-derived products and fossil fuels. Has their use of these products not contributed to the environmental problems of which they complain? Are they not part of the problem?

And in a related matter…. It’s official. Montana has displaced Florida in the standings of the “U.S. Wackiest State” competition, to garner third place and thereby gain a podium position. California and Massachusetts confident in their continued wacky ascendancy, welcomed their Rocky Mountain brother to the fold.

Apparently, ,people aren’t hurting enough.

“One youth plaintiff, Grace, reported psychological distress at the impact of climate change: “Grace feels fearful due to the glaciers disappearing from a state she loves.””

I wonder if Grace is aware that much of the country was once covered by glaciers. At one time, what is now NYC was covered by glaciers. They melted due to climate change, but it wasn’t man-made, and they left behind a beautiful landscape of rolling hills and lakes, except for NYC. The world is constantly changing and evolving.

Dear Grace,
Most of what we use & consume (yes, even food) daily comes from fossil fuels. Examples- cell phones, computers, cars, food. Life as we know it would come to a standstill if we stopped using fossil fuels. Set an example and become willing to walk everywhere, not heat your home or use A/C, no more cell phone or laptop usage, etc. You go first and stop being a hypocrite.