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Sean D. Reyes
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AG Reyes Joins Amicus on States’ Rights to Create Environmental Policy

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH – Attorney General Sean D. Reyes joined an amicus brief to the Supreme Court of the State of Montana in Held v. Montana. The brief, led by the State of North Dakota, supports Montana’s position in an appeal over judicial overreach from a question of environmental policy set by the state legislature.

The case involves a challenge to a Montana law that bans state entities from “considering the impacts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or climate change” in setting policy. The trial court ruled that this provision was unconstitutional, setting itself up as the branch of government tasked with formulating the “correct” environmental policies for the entire state. The decision led to an appeal to the state supreme court.

In their brief, the States argue that “addressing climate change is a political question,” that the “plaintiffs’ alleged injuries are not redressable by the courts,” and that “the trial court’s order threatens to impermissibly regulate interstate commerce.”

The coalition of attorneys general write, “Addressing climate change while balancing the needs of modern society is a matter of profound importance and requires making fundamental policy choices. In our constitutional republic, those fundamental policy choices are made by the people through their elected legislatures, not by the courts. The Court should reverse the trial court’s judgment or, at minimum, clarify that its order does not dictate policy choices that belong to the political branches or require the State to engage in extraterritorial regulation of the power grids or energy market.”

Joining Utah and North Dakota were the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Virginia.

Read the brief here.