The ramifications of a judge’s decision this week in the historic Held vs. Montana trial are already being seen in the Treasure State, and policymakers and lawyers say its impact can’t be overstated in Montana and beyond.

Tuesday, just 24 hours after the Lewis and Clark District Court issued the order anticipated across the country in the climate case, the constitutional protections of a clean and healthful environment permeated a Public Service Commission hearing on NorthWestern Energy’s future energy plans.

“The PSC may not have to comply with the Montana Environmental Policy Act, but the decision yesterday will have a profound impact on our energy future,” said Anne Hedges, with the Montana Environmental Information Center, also a witness for the plaintiffs in the trial. “… This changes everything.”