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Montana youths win environment case against the state, taking one step forward to being the change

Sixteen youths sued the state of Montana and emerged victorious in taking action against climate change issues.

Montana youths win environment case against the state, taking one step forward to being the change
Cover Image Source: YouTube/ Good Morning America

Global warming and natural issues have become an increasing threat that has already started to affect several countries. People are putting their best foot forward to heal the planet. Given the drastic climate change issues, many measures are being taken and for those still silent, there are others ready to give the much-needed push. A group of Montana youths took a giant step forward in holding those responsible accountable when they emerged victorious after a long period of hard work and determination.

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Sixteen youths in Montana sued the state for violating their right to a clean and healthy environment. This was due to the emission of greenhouse gasses and several other violations of laws by the state of Montana due to mining and other projects. The youths filed a case against the state for breaching their right to a clean and healthy environment given extreme climate change and other factors. 


After many pleas and hearings, the 16 youths finally won the case in August this year. The law of Montana rightfully states that citizens have the right to a clean and healthy environment and due to several other evidences and instances, Judge Kathy Seeley ruled in favor of the youth plaintiffs. The youngsters—ranging in age from 5 to 22—presented quite an evident case over the month which included proof of injuries, harm caused by the gasses and other emissions and the need to bring a change for the sake of the present and future generations. 


Nevada Current reported that the judge “struck down as unconstitutional the so-called 'limitation' to the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA), which was amended by the legislature this year, as well as another portion of law surrounding greenhouse gas emissions that was changed this past session.” The judge communicated, “plaintiffs have a fundamental right to a clean and healthful environment, which includes climate as part of the environmental life support system.”

The article also mentioned that it was the first time in history that the court called out the government for violating the rights of children and those regarding fossil fuels and other laws. The Good News Network mentioned that the attorneys of the youth called it a “sweeping win.” It also mentioned that the case was filed 3 long years ago and a trial was held recently with the young plaintiffs as witnesses. 


The youths didn’t want any reward or compensation but just that the environment and their rights be protected. “This ruling, this case; it is truly historic. We are heard! Frankly, the elation and joy in my heart are overwhelming in the best way. We set the precedent not only for the United States but for the world,” said Kian, one of the plaintiffs.

It had indeed been a long fight for the youths who were trying to bring about a global change by starting with their home, Montana. However, their hope and optimism kept them going to achieve what they set out to do. Rikki Held, one of the plaintiffs, shared, “Young people don’t have a say in our governments. Future generations don’t have a say. And time just seems so short.” These heroes who everyone thought were “just youths” have given a message of “It starts with you,” through their example.


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