Montana regulators urged to weigh climate change in energy rules

By Jason Plautz | 02/29/2024 06:25 AM EST

A petition from 40 environmental groups aims to force regulators to consider the federal social cost of greenhouse gases in decisions.

The Colstrip coal-fired power plant.

The Colstrip coal-fired power plant in Montana. Matt Brown/AP

Environmental groups are pushing Montana regulators to consider climate change in rulings affecting gas and electric utilities after last year’s landmark decision in the state’s youth climate case.

A petition from more than 40 groups filed Wednesday asks the Montana Public Service Commission (PSC) to open a rulemaking to integrate climate impacts in its regulatory decisions. That rulemaking would make sure the PSC follows the Montana state constitution, which includes a right to a “clean and healthful environment,” according to the petition.
petition from more than 40 groups

In a historic court decision last summer, a state judge sided with a group of young plaintiffs and said Montana had violated its constitution by barring agencies from considering the climate impacts of fossil fuel projects. The Held v. Montana ruling found that adverse climate impacts must be considered by government officials.
historic court decision
Held v. Montana 


The state is appealing that decision to the state supreme court.