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Sierra Club v. Jewell

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20193
Nos. No. 12-5383, (D.C. Cir., 08/26/2014)

The D.C. Circuit held that environmental groups have standing to challenge DOI's decision to remove the Blair Mountain Battlefield—the site of a large 1921 coal miner uprising in West Virginia—from the National Register of Historic Places. Shortly after the Battlefield was listed in 2009, the site was delisted after the Keeper of the Register learned he had failed to account for a number of objections to the listing from several private landowners, primarily coal companies. Environmental groups then challenged the delisting, arguing that the delisting was arbitrary and capricious. A lower court dismissed the case, finding the groups lacked standing. But the appellate court disagreed. The coal companies have permits that encompass the Battlefield and have expectations to mine in the Battlefield under those permits. Because delisting would remove certain protections for the site, the groups' members asserted a concrete and particularized injury that is both actual and imminent. They also satisfied the causation and redressibility prongs of standing. The lower court, therefore, was reversed.