Judge rules against groups in Blair Mountain list case

October 2, 2012 by Ken Ward Jr.

In this June 6, 2011 photo, this historical marker along W.Va. Route 17 in Blair, W.Va., is the only visible sign of the 1921 battle here between thousands of armed, unionizing coal miners and the thousands of law enforcement officers and security guards hired to defeat them. At least 16 men died on the mountain, which could be turned into a strip mine. (AP Photo/Vicki Smith)

Word just in today that a federal judge in Washington, D.C., has ruled against the Sierra Club and other groups in their efforts to have Blair Mountain returned to the National Register of Historic Places.

I’ve posted a copy of the ruling by U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton here, but in short, the judge ruled that the citizen groups could not meet one of the requirements to show “standing” to bring the case, that of “redressability,” or that a favorable ruling from the court would redress their injury. The judge explained:

It is likely, therefore, that surface mining would be permitted on the Blair Mountain Battlefield as a result of permits that were acquired prior to the historic district’s inclusion on the National Register. An order from this Court restoring the Blair Mountain Battlefield to the National Register, therefore, will not prevent mining from occurring should the coal mining companies who own existing permits choose to exercise their rights afforded by the permits. The Court having only a limited ability to redress the plaintiffs’ asserted injuries, the plaintiffs have failed to meet their burden under the final prong of the standing inquiry.

6 Responses to “Judge rules against groups in Blair Mountain list case”

  1. Scott Speedy (West Virginia Curator in Exile) says:

    Thank you West Virginia Division of Culture and History.

    Special thanks to “commissioner” Randall Reid-Smith.

    Great job Deputy SHPO Susan Pierce.

    All of West Virginia is proud of both of you for doing your jobs and protecting West Virginia’s culture and history.

    Don’t worry there will be a special place in the history books for the both of you.

  2. Bo Webb says:

    I have not been involved in the campaign to save Blair Mtn. My focus has been on the cost of human health in all MTR communities. But, it seems to me that the mining companies do have an obligation to give something back to The People of West Virginia. West Virginia coal resources have made a multitude of millionaires and even some billionaires. West Virginia people that have lived, worked and died in the mines have for the most part have remained poor. Leaving Blair untouched would be a humanitarian gesture of appreciation by the coal industry. Dedicating Blair Mountain to The People of WV for the great sacrifice we have endured for more than 100 years would be a small simple way for the coal industry to say, “thank you to the people of West Virginia”.

  3. carol judy says:

    This historical mountain is also a watershed. Mining activities will further compromise this mountains ability to be a healthy fully functioning working system. Not only does it appear that people of today living in the community do not count, tomorrow’s are considered worthy of having good water for their lives.

  4. carol judy says:

    sory , last above should read Not only does it appear that people of today living in the community do not count, tomorrow’s are considered NOT worthy of having good water in their lives.

  5. tish holbrook says:

    Painful news, I hope also that Karma finds those who vote against the health of a people and their land.

  6. Joe says:

    It will be interesting to see if the miners will destroy what their parents established. Hopefully there will be a (partial) repeat of history, where, miners rebel against the companies, but this time winning the mountain.

Leave a Reply