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UPDATE: W.Va. Activists to Appeal Blair Mountain Ruling

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

UPDATE 11/29/12 @ 12:04 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Activists trying to protect West Virginia's historic Blair Mountain from further coal mining are keeping the fight alive.

On Thursday, they announced they're appealing their latest loss in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.

In 1921, some 10,000 unionizing coal miners marched to Blair and battled an army of police and hired guns on the mountain. Sixteen men died before the miners surrendered. It was the largest armed uprising since the Civil War.

The 1,600-acre battlefield was briefly added to the National Register of Historic Places, and then removed when private property owners objected.

The groups trying to have that status restored lost their court fight last month when a judge concluded they lacked status to challenge the de-listing.



UPDATE 11/19/12 @ 12:24 p.m.
BLAIR, W.Va. (AP) -- Activists trying to protect West Virginia's historic Blair Mountain from strip mining aren't giving up.

Residents, environmentalists and others are fighting the renewal of a mining permit that St. Louis-based Arch Coal is seeking from the Department of Environmental Protection.

The public comment period on the Adkins Fork permit ends Friday.

In 1921, some unionizing 10,000 coal miners battled authorities and hired guns in what became the nation's largest armed uprising since the Civil War. At least 16 men died before the miners surrendered.

Blair resident Kenneth King has tried to preserve the battlefield for decades. He says the mining would only add to the cumulative impacts on the Spruce Fork watershed, where 17,000 acres are already permitted or being mined.

He also worries about human health effects.



UPDATE 10/2/12 @ 5:25 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- A federal judge in Washington has dismissed a lawsuit filed by environmental groups trying to prevent mining on Blair Mountain.

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton on Tuesday ruled that the Sierra Club and other groups had no standing to challenge the removal of the Blair Mountain Battlefield from the National Register of Historic Places. They had hoped that its inclusion would protect it from being mined.

In 1921, some 10,000 coal miners trying to unionize marched to Blair and faced down police and hired guns who had homemade bombs and machine guns. At least 16 men died before the miners surrendered to federal troops in what became the nation's largest armed uprising since the Civil War.

The battlefield was added to the Register then removed when private property owners objected.



UPDATE 6/26/12
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- 100 historians and labor professors are pushing for a permanent park honoring a violent West Virginia chapter of the nation's labor movement.

The Associated Press says the professors from Dartmouth, Cornell, Marshall and many other universities sent a petition to state legislators to create the park in honor of the Battle of Blair Mountain.

In 1921, some 10,000 coal miners who had been trying to unionize for years marched to Blair and faced down an army of police and hired guns who had homemade bombs and machine guns.

At least 16 men died before the miners surrendered to federal troops in what became the nation's largest armed uprising since the Civil War.

The 1,600-acre battlefield was briefly added to the Register then removed when private property owners objected.



ORIGINAL 11/1/11 @ 9 p.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Defenders of Blair Mountain held a rally in their continuing fight to preserve a battlefield from the West Virginia coal wars.

Organizers gathered Tuesday outside the Culture Center in Charleston and presented the State Historic Preservation Office with a petition bearing more than 26,000 signatures.

The mountain was the site of a 1921 battle between unionizing coal miners and law enforcement officers, including security forces hired by coal operators.

Retired miner Joe Stanley says it's important to the American labor movement and deserves to be protected from strip mining. But several past efforts have failed.

Archaeologist Brandon Nida says a new bus tour that stops in Blair and a museum opened by Friends of Blair Mountain demonstrate the mountain's tourism potential.


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