US judge rules in favor of young activists in climate trial

US judge rules in favor of young activists in climate trial

In landmark case, young plaintiffs had accused state officials in Montana of violating their right to a healthy environment

By Rabia İclal Turan

WASHINGTON (AA) - A Montana judge ruled Monday in favor of a group of young climate activists, saying they have a constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment.

The decision was a landmark win in the first-of-its-kind trial in the US, where the young plaintiffs, ranging in age from 5 to 22, had accused state officials in Montana of violating their right to a healthy environment by allowing fossil fuel development without considering its effect on the climate.

District Court Judge Kathy Seeley ruled that the state’s emissions and climate change “have been proven to be a substantial factor in causing climate impacts to Montana’s environment and harm and injury."

“This is a huge win for Montana, for youth, for democracy and for our climate,” said Julia Olson, who founded Our Children’s Trust, the nonprofit law firm that brought the suit alongside the Western Environmental Law Center and McGarvey Law.

“In a sweeping win for our clients, the Honorable Judge Kathy Seeley declared Montana’s fossil fuel-promoting laws unconstitutional and enjoined their implementation,” she said.

“As fires rage in the west, fueled by fossil fuel pollution, today’s ruling in Montana is a game-changer that marks a turning point in this generation’s efforts to save the planet from the devastating effects of human-caused climate chaos," she added.

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