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The first children’s climate trial in US history is slated for 2023 as 16 youths sue Montana

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A lawsuit filed by 16 children against Montana, alleging that the state’s continued use of fossil fuels, whose claim contributed to the climate crisis, will be tried on June 12, 2023 and closed on June 23.

This will be the first children’s climate trial in US history, with the young plaintiffs arguing how the state is violating their constitutional rights.

The lawsuit, filed in March 2020, describes how children are more vulnerable to the effects of the climate crisis, noting that it “damages their physical and psychological health and safety, disrupts family and cultural foundations and integrity, and causes economic deprivation.” .

It also includes how each child has been personally affected by the climate crisis, such as how wildfires threaten the youngest with respiratory problems and another whose family depends on a river that has dried up in recent years for their business.

The kids aren’t looking for a lump sum of money, but if the court rules in their favor, the group wants defendants’align the state energy system with the constitution,” the March 2020 filing said.

The lawsuit, filed in March 2020, comes from 16 children who are suing Montana because continuous use of fossil fuels has contributed to the climate crisis

The lawsuit contains details of each claimant, detailing how each claimant has been personally affected by the climate crisis.

For example, Rikki, who was 18 at the time of the submission, added a story about her family farm on the cattle ranch.

One of the ranches is the Powder River that her family relies on to grow crops and hydrate livestock.

The river dried up in 2007 and then in the spring of 2017, “abnormally high temperatures due to the climate crisis caused the frozen river to melt and flood at a rapid rate,” the lawsuit reads.

Riki, who was 18 when the lawsuit was filed, claims Montana is responsible for drying up a river her parents rely on for their business

Nathaniel has respiratory problems that cause him frequent illnesses and the document claims the climate crisis is extending the length and severity of Montana's wildfire season, threatening the young boy's health

Riki, who was 18 when the lawsuit was filed, claims Montana is responsible for drying up a river her parents rely on for their business. Nathaniel has breathing problems and document claims climate crisis is increasing wildfire season in Montana, threatening boy’s health

The latest development in the case is that it will go to trial on June 12, 2023, with all 16 children arguing as to why Montana is responsible for the climate crisis.

This will be the first children's climate trial in US history, in which the young plaintiffs will argue how the state is violating their constitutional rights

The latest development in the case is that it will go to trial on June 12, 2023, with all 16 children arguing as to why Montana is responsible for the climate crisis.

The youngest of the group, Nathaniel, was two at the time of the submission – he is now four years old.

Nathaniel has respiratory problems that cause him frequent illnesses, and the document claims the climate crisis is increasing the length and severity of Montana’s wildfire season, threatening the young boy’s health.

The document further explains that due to increased wildfires, Nathaniel spends much of his time indoors rather than enjoying nature outdoors.

Nate Bellinger, Senior Staff Attorney at Our Children’s Trust and co-counsel for the youth complainants, said in a statement Tuesday: “Trial preparations have been underway for months and we are very pleased that new trial dates for June next year have been confirmed.” .

The kids aren't looking for a lump sum of money, but if the court rules in their favor, the group wants defendants to 'bring the state energy system in line with the constitution', says March 2020 filing

The kids aren’t looking for a lump sum of money, but if the court rules in their favor, the group wants defendants to ‘bring the state energy system in line with the constitution’, says March 2020 filing

Mica (bottom left), who is now 14 and one of the young plaintiffs, said in a statement: 'I would like to have our day in court so that all the plaintiffs' voices can be heard'

Mica (bottom left), who is now 14 and one of the young plaintiffs, said in a statement: ‘I would like to have our day in court so that all the plaintiffs’ voices can be heard’

“This trial will be a historic opportunity for these 16 young Montanans, and their experts, to testify in public court about how the state of Montana’s historic and ongoing promotion of fossil fuels is seriously hurting plaintiffs, and the urgent need for legal intervention.” .

“As climate destruction mounts every month, it has never been more important for youth-led constitutional climate cases like this one to have their day in court.”

He concluded, “Next June, the eyes of the world will be on Montana.”

The lawsuit alleges that Montana’s fossil fuel energy system corrodes and depletes constitutionally protected resources of public trust, including the atmosphere, rivers, lakes, fish and wildlife.

Mica, who is now 14 and one of the youth prosecutors, said in a statement: “I look forward to having our day in court so that all the prosecutors’ voices can be heard.

“Young people will suffer the most if Montana continues to promote fossil fuels and I hope our trial will help change our future for the better.”

Montana is rich in both fossil fuels and renewable resources, but by 2021, coal-fired power plants produced 43 percent of Montana’s electricity, compared to hydropower at 41 percent and wind power at 12 percent, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

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