A landmark climate change case against the state of Montana resumed Monday with state employees pushing back against a group of young people’s charges that the government is violating the state constitution by embracing fossil fuel projects.

The director of Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality and the agency’s air, energy and mining division administrator said the department is following state law, including adhering to a provision that bars them from considering the effects of climate change on projects.

In addition, DEQ Director Chris Dorrington argued that the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) that the youth are challenging does not give his agency regulatory authority to issue permits. The act, he said, is purely procedural and because of that the young plaintiffs are off-base in their challenge.