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RICHMOND, Va. (AP via the Daily Mail.) – A Virginia judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit filed on behalf of 13 young people who claim that the state’s permitting of fossil fuel projects is exacerbating climate change and violating their constitutional rights.
The lawsuit filed by Our Children’s Trust, an Oregon-based nonprofit public interest law firm, asked the court to declare portions of the Virginia Gas and Oil Act unconstitutional.
It also seeks to find the state’s reliance on and promotion of fossil fuels violates the rights of the plaintiffs, who range in age from 10 to 19.
But Richmond Circuit Court Judge Clarence Jenkins Jr. granted the state’s request to dismiss the lawsuit, finding that the complaint is barred by sovereign immunity.
That’s a legal doctrine that says a state cannot be sued without its consent. The state argued that sovereign immunity prohibited the plaintiffs’ claims because they sought to restrain the state from issuing permits for fossil fuel infrastructure and to interfere with governmental functions.
The judge did not rule on the merits of the plaintiffs’ constitutional claims.
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