UNH student is part of landmark Montana climate lawsuit


New Hampshire Public Radio

Published: 08-18-2023 3:15 PM

A University of New Hampshire student is one of the 16 plaintiffs who won a landmark court case against the state of Montana over its climate policies.

UNH senior Georgianna Fischer spent much of her childhood in Montana outside, paddle boarding, skiing, hiking and biking.

“Growing up in a largely outdoor environment and seeing the changes with climate change made me really want to work to protect these places that I love,” she said. “And protect the world for future generations.”

A friend got Fischer on board with the Held v. Montana lawsuit that included other students who felt Montana violated their rights to a clean and healthy environment by allowing fossil fuel development without considering the effect on the climate. Fisher hopes the decision will set a precedent for future climate litigation.

Fischer chose to attend UNH in part for its cross country ski team and environmental science program.

She wrote a letter to the editor of a local paper in 2019 talking about the dissatisfaction she felt at the decreased snowfall that affected training for competitive cross country skiing. She said that climate change should not be a political issue.

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Fischer says her legal team was confident they’d get a positive ruling from the court.

“We weren’t sure how broad that ruling would be,” she said. “But getting full support from the judge was really good.”

Fisher hopes the decision will set a precedent for future climate litigation and that it will help protect the environment in Montana and elsewhere.

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org.