Description: Challenge to state’s alleged failure to protect atmosphere from greenhouse gas emissions.
Barhaugh v. Montana
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 06/15/2011 Order Download Order issued denying petition. The Montana Supreme Court denied a petition asking it to find that the state was constitutionally required to prevent climate change by regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The petition alleged that the Supreme Court had original jurisdiction because the petition concerned constitutional issues of major statewide importance, the case involved purely legal questions of constitutional construction, and emergency factors made the normal litigation process inadequate. The court disagreed, holding that the petition did not meet the standards to be heard directly by the court given that the claim required factual inquiry, that emergency circumstances were not present, and that it was not constitutionally based. 05/17/2011 Order Download Order issued granting Montana 20 days to respond to petition. 05/04/2011 Petition Download Petition for original jurisdiction filed. In a petition seeking a court declaration that the state holds the atmosphere in trust for the present and future citizens of Montana and that it must take steps to protect and preserve the atmosphere by enforcing limits on greenhouse gas emissions, the Montana Supreme Court ordered state officials to respond to the petition. The petition is part of a nationwide campaign by Our Children’s Trust and iMatter, groups that seek to combat climate change on behalf of future generations. The groups filed lawsuits in every state on May 4, 2011. The
petition at issue was filed in the Montana Supreme Court and alleges that the court had original jurisdiction because it concerns constitutional issues of major statewide importance, the case involves purely legal questions of constitutional construction, and emergency factors make the normal litigation process inadequate. According to the petition, the Montana Constitution recognizes a right to a “clean and healthful environment.”