Wednesday, August 27, 2014

U.S. court rules for groups defending historic site from coal mining

A U.S. appeals court ruled Tuesday in favor of environmental groups fighting to protect the site of a historic 1920s-era labor battle between miners and companies in West Virginia from being destroyed by modern-day coal mining. The Sierra Club and a coalition of local historical associations sued the government for removing the Blair Mountain Battlefield in southern West Virginia from the National Register of Historic Places in 2009, a move the group said would open up the area to large-scale surface mining. The mountain was the scene of a five-day clash in September 1921 between more than 5,000 West Virginia coal miners and around 3,000 men backed by the coal companies, the largest armed labor conflict in the nation's history. President Warren Harding had to send in federal troops to quell the violence. In a 2-1 ruling, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned a lower court's 2012 ruling throwing out the Sierra Club's claim against the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service. The appeals court found the groups had a right to challenge the government's delisting of the site since their members - including descendants of veterans who fought in the battle - would be harmed if it is altered by mining...more

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