climate change

Youth-Led Climate Lawsuit Heads to Trial in a First in US

The young people sued Montana over fossil fuel development

Smoke rises from prescribed burning of log piles, part of the Marshall Woods Restoration Project at the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area in the Lolo National Forest September 19, 2019 in Missoula, Montana.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sixteen young people are accusing Montana of infringing on their right to a clean and healthful environment with its heavy reliance on developing fossil fuels.

The lawsuit, Held v. State of Montana, was filed in March 2020 and is the first of its kind to move forward to a trial in the United States. The trial is scheduled to start on Feb. 6, 2023, according to documents obtained by NBC News.

Montana is one of six states that mention environmental rights in their state constitution. In August 2021, a judge denied the state’s move to dismiss the lawsuit.

Such lawsuits are uncommon in the United States. One that included similar allegations, Juliana v. United States, was filed in federal court in Oregon in 2015, but it has not yet been given a trial date. 


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