Prof. Tuholske Weighs In On Montana Climate Change Lawsuit
June 14, 2011
The suit was filed by a group of unpaid Montana lawyers who asked the court to declare that governments at all levels hold the atmosphere in trust for its citizens and owe a fiduciary duty to protect it.
Tuholske, a lawyer in Missoula, argued that the suit has a sound legal basis in Montana law.
"The public trust doctrine has been repeatedly recognized by the Montana Supreme Court for the more than a quarter-century and, in light of the constitution's protection of the 'the entire (environmental) life support system,' it hardly seems 'audacious' to extend the doctrine's reach from rivers and lakes to the atmosphere," the op-ed said. "Since the doctrine has been used for over a century throughout the U.S. to protect the public's interest in water, it is neither 'implausible' nor a 'leap' for the court to require the government to fulfill its duty to protect the atmosphere as a public asset upon which our lives depend."