MORGAN ZEGERS: Montana judge rules in favor of climate alarmists who were 'impacted by fear' of 'melting glaciers'

Climate crisis fear-mongering is giving children new nightmares about end-of-the-world scenarios, causing 16 young plaintiffs to sue their home state of Montana over their anxiety surrounding climate change — and the judge just affirmed their fears.

Judge Kathy Seeley ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, ranging in age from 2 to 18 years old at the time the initial complaint was filed, suing the state for allegedly violating their rights by not taking climate change impacts into account when weighing energy initiatives such as coal mining, natural gas extraction, or fossil fuel projects.

The Helena, Montana judge ruled that plaintiffs have a “fundamental constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment,” and that Montana’s State Energy Policy Act unconstitutionally caused harm to the young plaintiffs.

The lead plaintiff in the case, Rikki Held, who is now 22, testified during the trial that droughts she alleged were caused by climate change left “skinny cows and dead cattle” on her family’s ranch. Others claimed to feel “distress due to the impacts of climate change on culturally important plants,” “despair due to climate change,” “fear and loss from glaciers melting, and anxiety over whether it is a safe world in which to have children.”



In their initial complaint, the plaintiffs argued that they “have been and will continue to be harmed by the dangerous impacts of fossil fuels and the climate crisis.” The complaint stated that “children are uniquely vulnerable to the consequences of the climate crisis, which harms Youth Plaintiffs’ physical and psychological health and safety, interferes with family and cultural foundations and integrity, and causes economic deprivations.”

The 16 plaintiffs argued that Montana’s State Energy Policy Act, which prevents the state and associated agencies from considering the climate impacts of greenhouse gas emissions in environmental reviews, is unconstitutional.

The defendants, comprised of the state and state-affiliated environmental agencies, argued that the court had precedent to reject the plaintiffs’ request for a remedial plan to reduce emissions gasses, because “the Ninth Circuit has already rejected a similar request.”

The Montana judges’ order invalidates statutes “prohibiting analysis and remedies based on [greenhouse gas] emissions and climate impacts, alleviating Youth Plaintiffs’ injuries and preventing further corresponding impacts to the climate.”

The polarizing ruling found that plaintiffs suffered “injuries to their physical and mental health, homes, and property, recreational, spiritual, and aesthetic interests, tribal and cultural traditions, economic security, and happiness,” due to the negative effects of climate change.

Furthermore, Judge Seeley stated that the “mental health injuries stemming from the effects of climate change on Montana’s environment, feelings like loss, despair, and anxiety, are cognizable injuries.”

The ruling also made several seemingly controversial statements very matter-of-factly, such as “Climate change is already adversely affecting Montana’s natural environment,” and a claim that climate change currently harms children.

Several social media users have harshly condemned the judge for issuing what appears to be a politically partisan ruling. One user posted, “How insane is this ruling? Well. The judge thinks a five-year-old has standing because of their ‘feelings like loss, despair, and anxiety,’ ‘stemming from the effects of climate change.'”


 

“[A] judge ruled that the state violated the constitutional rights of 16 teenagers and young adults by promoting the use of fossil fuels. The judge’s ruling mentions concrete ‘harms’ like a child feeling ‘fear’ over glaciers melting, or the fact that ‘drought’ is associated with anxiety, depression, and chronic despair,” Turning Point USA CEO Charlie Kirk wrote on X (formerly Twitter), “Liberal judges look for any excuse to rule their way, no matter how insane.”

In a press release, Julia Olson, Chief Legal Counsel and Executive Director of Our Children’s Trust, the organization representing the 16 youth plaintiffs stated, “Today, for the first time in U.S. history, a court ruled on the merits of a case that the government violated the constitutional rights of children through laws and actions that promote fossil fuels, ignore climate change, and disproportionately imperil young people.”

This piece first appeared at TPUSA.

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