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Patrick C. McGinley

Patrick C. McGinley

Charles H. Haden II Professor of Law

Awards and Honors

  • 2016 Svitlana Kravchenko Environmental Rights Award


  • A.B., Dickinson College, 1968
  • J.D., Duke University, 1971
  • Editorial Board, Duke Law Journal


Professor Patrick McGinley is a graduate of Dickinson College and the Duke University School of Law where he was a member of the Duke Law Journal Editorial Board. Professor McGinley served as a law clerk to a Justice of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and as a Special Assistant Attorney General, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Environmental Strike Force. In the latter position he was engaged in environmental enforcement and mine safety litigation.

In 1975 Professor McGinley joined the West Virginia University College of Law faculty where he has taught courses in contracts, civil procedure, criminal, environmental, administrative, land use and natural resources, constitutional law, and appellate advocacy as well as seminars in public access to information, environmental justice and U.S. Supreme Court litigation.

Professor McGinley was co-editor of the multi-volume treatise Coal Law & Regulation and of the Annual Proceedings of the Eastern Mineral Law Foundation. He was a founder and served as an officer and trustee of the Eastern Mineral Law Foundation (now the Energy and Mineral Law Foundation). He has published numerous law review articles relating to environmental law, natural resources, access to public information, and administrative law. His most recent scholarship, Climate Change and Coal: Exploring the Dark Side, appears in Climate Change: A Reader (Carolina Academic Press, 2009).

Professor McGinley has served as Chair, American Law Institute – American Bar Association Course of Study: Legal Issues in the Coal Industry; Co-Chair, American Law Institute – American Bar Association Course of Study: Legal Issues in the Eastern Coal Industry, (First continuing legal education program broadcasting nation-wide to remote city locations; Chair, Eastern Mineral Law Foundation, Oil and Gas Special Institute; Program Chair, WVU College of Law: A Discussion of Public Corruption; Chair, American Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting, Section of Environmental Law, Environmental Justice in the Classroom and Courtroom; Co-Chair, Environmental Justice\Racism Workshop, Society of American Law Teachers Annual Meeting (University of Minnesota School of Law); Member of the Board of Directors; and as a consultant to the West Virginia Water Resources Board and the West Virginia Sago Mine Disaster Investigation.

Professor McGinley has been recognized by the Environmental Policy Institute for his “tireless efforts to promote and uphold the rights of the land, the people of America’s coalfields and the law protecting them.” (1987); by the Directors of the 16th Annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference Cary Rydberg Award (University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon) for “Outstanding Contributions to Public Interest Advocacy” (1998); and by the Public Justice Foundation for “winning exceptional victories for the public interest.” (2000).

Professor McGinley has litigated many cases before administrative tribunals as well as state and federal trial and appellate courts. Professor McGinley has traveled to many countries in connection with his work with grassroots environmental public interest lawyers.



  • Editor, 3rd -11th Volumes: Annual Institutes, Eastern Mineral Law Foundation (1982-1990) ( w/ Fox).
  • Editor, Second Annual Institute, Eastern Mineral Law Foundation (1981) (with Fox and Friedberg.)
  • Editor, First Annual Institute, Eastern Mineral Law Foundation (1980) (with Fox.)
  • Editor, Coal Law and Regulation (5 Volume Treatise, Matthew Bender & Co. 1983) (with Vish)

Articles and Book Chapters

  • "Yielding To The Necessities Of A Great Public Industry: Denial And Concealment Of The Harmful Health Effects Of Coal Mining," 43 WM. & MARY ENVTL. L. & POL’Y REV. at 1-73 (2019).
  • "Tapping Officials Secrets, The Door to Open Government in West Virginia," (The Reporters Committee on Freedom of the Press(5th Ed. 2006)

  • "Tapping Officials Secrets, The Door to Open Government in the 50 States and District of Columbia," (The Reporters Committee on Freedom of the Press) (5th Ed. 2006).
  • West Virginia Water Law, "Chapter in 6 Water and Water Rights," (2005).
  • "Environmental Justice in the Coalfields: From Pick and Shovel to Mountaintop Removal," 34 ENTL LAW 21 (2004). (Reprinted in Land Use and Environmental Law Review (2005-2006) ).
  • "Tapping Official Secrets, The Door To Open Government in West Virgina;" Chapter in: Tapping Official Secrets, The Door To Open Government in the Fifty States & D.C."(Reporters Committee For Freedom of the Press, 5th Ed. 2001) (pp. wv 1-33).
  • "Separation Of Powers, State Constitutions, And The Attorney General: Who Represents The State?," 99 W.V.L.Rev. 722-768 (1997).
  • "The Surface Mining Control & Reclamation Act of 1977: New Era of Federal-State Cooperation or Prologue to Future Controversy?," 16 East’n Min. Law Foundation Institute, Chapter 11 ( pp. 1-42 (1996)(w/ D. Michael Miller and G. Milton McCarthy).
  • "Environmental Justice and Racism: Making The Connection In Classrooms And Courtrooms," 96 W.Va.L.Rev. 1017-1023 (1994).
  • "Universal Statutes and Planetary Programs: How EPA Has Diluted The Clean Water Act," 8 J. Envtl. L. & Litig. 253 (1993).
  • "Trashing the Constitution: Judicial Activism, the Dormant Commerce Clause, and the Federalism Mantra," 71 U. Oregon L. Rev. 409 (1992).
  • "Regulation of the Environmental Impacts of Coal Mining in the United States: Market Economics, Cost Benefit Analysis and Mistakes of the Past," 16 United Nations Natural Resources Forum 261-270. (1992).
  • "Of Pigs and Parlors: Regulatory Takings in the Coalfields," 5 Journal of Mineral Law and Policy 473-527 (1990).
  • "Defending Our National Parks," (Island Press, 1988) (Chapter 18, pp 465-498 ). Chapter examines mining laws’ impact on National Parks and rights of citizens under federal law to seek protection for the Parks.
  • "Regulation of Oil and Natural Gas Exploration, Development, and Production Wastes Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act," 8 Eastern Min. L. Inst., Ch. 17 (1987).
  • "Pandora in the Coal Fields: Environmental Liabilities in the Acquisition and Disposition of Coal Properties," 87 W. Va. L. Rev. 665-685 (1985).
  • "Does the Right to Mine Coal Under Lease or Deed Include the Right to Extract by Longwall Mining Methods?," 5 Eastern Min. L. Inst. Ch. 5 (1985).
  • "Regulatory “Takings”: The Remarkable Resurrection of Economic Substantive Due Process Analysis in Constitutional Law," 17 Envtl. L. Reptr. 10369 (September 1987). Reprinted in: 1988 Zoning and Planning Law Handbook at 337-369 (Clark Boardman Company).
  • "Federalism Lives! Reflections on the Vitality of the Federal System in the Context of Natural Resource Regulation," 32 U. Kan. L. Rev. 147 (1983).
  • " Pennsylvania Coal Company v. Maho Revisited: Is the Federal Surface Mining Act a Valid Exercise of the Police Power or an Unconstitutional Taking?," 16 Tulsa L. Rev. 418-452 (1981).
  • "The Commerce Clause and the Tenth Amendment at Odds: Can the Federal Surface Mining Act Survive National League of Cities," 8 N. Ken. L. Rev. 107-119 (1981).
  • "Recent Developments in Oil and Gas Law," 2 East. Min. L. Inst., Chap. 17 (1981).
  • "Acid Coal Mine Drainage: Past Pollution and Current Regulation," 17 Duq. L. Rev. 67-97 (1979). Reprinted in 16 The Public Land and Resources Law Digest, 319-345 (1979).
  • "“Vermont Yankee” & the Evolution of Administrative Procedure," 1 Miss. Coll. L. Rev. 257-270 (1979).
  • "Legal Problems Relating to Ownership of Gas Found in Coal Deposits," 80 W. Va. L. Rev. 369-395 (1978). Reprinted in 16 The Public Land and Resources Law Digest, 288-318 (1979).
  • "The “Four Corners” Requirement: A Constitutional Prerequisite to Search Warrant Validity," 31 Okla. L. Rev. 289-317 (1978).
  • "Prohibition of Surface Mining in West Virginia," 78 W. Va. L. Rev. 445-474 (1976).
  • "West Virginia Rights in Potomac Waters, Legal Rights in Potomac Waters," 132-168 (Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin, 1976).

Teaching/Administrative Experience

  • Faculty, West Virginia University College of Law (1975-present)
  • Visiting Professor, University of Oregon
  • Visiting Professor, Indiana University


  • Svitlana Kravchenko Environmental Rights Award, 2016
  • Trial Lawyers For Public Justice Foundation: 2000 Public Justice Achievement Award for Awinning exceptional victories for the public interest.
  • Oregon Public Interest Law Conference: Cary Rydberg Award for AOutstanding Contributions to Public Interest Advocacy. (1998)
  • West Virginia University College of Law: College of Law Scholar Award for Adistinguished scholarship.
  • Environmental Policy Institute: “To Patrick C. McGinley for your tireless efforts to promote and uphold the rights of the land, the people of America’s coalfields and the law protecting them.” (1987).
  • Morgantown (West Virginia) Dominion Post: One Hundred Most Influential People (in the community), (2001).

Prof. McGinley in the news

WV Water Crisis

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