Held, et al. v. Montana
(Supreme Court of Montana, January 16, 2024) The Supreme Court of Montana upheld a trial court decision denying the State’s request to stay the trial court’s decision that found unconstitutional the Montana Environmental Policy Act. Youth advocating for the environment challenged the Act because it prohibits Montana from considering the climate impacts of energy projects. In a landmark decision, the trial court found that the Montana Constitution provides the right to a “clean and healthful” environment and the prohibition against considering climate impacts interferes with that right. The State sought a stay of the decision, allowing energy projects to proceed without consideration of climate impacts, while the case proceeds on appeal. Finding the State unlikely to prevail on the merits of the case, the lower court refused to issue the stay. The Supreme Court of Montana agreed, allowing the lower court decision to remain in effect while the case proceeds to a full appeal. Montana may not proceed with energy projects without taking climate impacts into consideration. Read the full Opinion here.