By Micah Drew, Flathead Beacon
The state called just one expert witness on the penultimate day of the Held v. Montana trial; closing remarks were scheduled for Tuesday morning
HELENA — Attorneys representing the state of Montana in a constitutional climate lawsuit presented testimony on Monday from two state employees who sought to clarify that the Montana Environmental Policy Act at the heart of the case offers no option for state agencies to regulate greenhouse gas emissions or the impacts of climate change — even if the state loses the lawsuit.
The mission of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is to “champion a healthy environment for a thriving Montana,” but director Chris Dorrington told the Helena courtroom that the regulatory agency is bound by the laws passed by the Legislature.
“We implement the laws of the state regarding environmental protection,” he said. “We’re not the ones who create the laws.”