Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Judge vacates de-listing of West Virginia's Blair Mountain from National Register of Historic Places

Zinn Education Project map shows several coalfields, now
considered part of one single Central Appalachian coalfield.
(Click on image for a larger version)
On Monday a federal judge in Washington ruled that the U.S. Interior Department wrongly removed West Virginia's Blair Mountain from the National Register of Historic Places in 2009, reports Ken Ward Jr. of the Charleston Gazette-Mail. The judge said the determination to de-list Blair Mountain—"made at the urging of a lawyer for coal companies that own potential mining sites in the area—violated federal law, in part because it was based on 'very little, if any, indicia of reasoned decision-making." In 1921, the 1,600-acre site was home to a bloody battle in southern West Virginia over union organizing. It has been targeted for surface mining by mountaintop removal.

District Judge Reggie B. Walton "said that federal officials had simply rubber stamped a state recommendation, did not independently verify the accuracy of a list of objecting landowners, and failed to act in a transparent manner," Ward writes. "Walton sent the matter back to the Interior Department for the 'exercise of reasoned decision making.'" Walton had earlier ruled that citizen lacked standing to challenge the de-listing, but that was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. (Read more)

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