Kids Take Climate Change to Court: Moms Make News

Written by Sarah McBride

Moms Make News: Moms Clean Air Force member Michelle Uberuaga

On June 12, our Montana state coordinator Michelle Uberuaga (above) traveled to Helena, the Montana state capitol, to support the 16 young plaintiffs from across the state suing their government in Held v. State of Montana. 

  • The Montana state constitution grants residents the “right to a clean and healthful environment.” The plaintiffs argue that the state violated this right by continuing to rely on a fossil fuel energy system that is depleting public trust resources.
  • This is the first-ever constitutional climate trial in the US. The youth are represented by Our Children’s Trust, a non-profit law firm that has sued state governments on behalf of youth in all 50 states. But this suit stands apart as the first of these cases to go to trial.
  • For parents, this is a bittersweet moment. As Michelle writes in a Billings Gazette op-ed, it’s unfair that the kids should have to take on this inherited burden, but she’s also “deeply inspired by the way these youth plaintiffs and their peers are turning their lived experience into meaningful action.” Excerpts from her op-ed were used in a Common Dreams article about the trial.


  • The Shell ethane cracker plant in Beaver County is living up to its local reputation as a “bad neighbor.” According to Beaver County Times, which quotes our Ohio River Valley organizer Rachel Meyer, the facility submitted dozens of malfunction reports and received multiple air pollution permit violations. Rachel described the impact of this pollution on her community at a rally outside the Beaver County Courthouse. Her remarks are quoted in Allegheny Front, WESA FM Radio, Pittsburgh Business Times, and Pittsburgh City Paper.
  • Our Michigan State Coordinator Elizabeth Hauptman joined local leaders and clean air advocates to call for strong federal car pollution protections. Elizabeth highlighted that cutting tailpipe pollution from passenger vehicles is a “win-win” for public health and the environment, Michigan Advance reports. This story also ran in Iosco News and Lansing City Pulse.
  • Maryland communities can look forward to cleaner air as electric school buses roll into local school districts! EcoMadres Program Manager Carolina Peña-Alarcón talks to El Tiempo Latino about the $5 billion in federal funding that’s making the transition to zero-pollution school buses possible.

Honorable Mentions: Over the last few weeks, Moms also earned mentions in Colorado Sun, Chop Wood Carry Water, PA Environment Digest Blog, and a quote in a press release from US Senator Michael Bennet’s office.