In June, hundreds of people marched in support of Blair Mountain. (Photo: Flickr user mulch.thief)
Written by Nell Ziehl
CNN has announced a special documentary on Blair Mountain by Soledad O’Brien on August 14th at 8:00 p.m. Although the piece will focus primarily on the controversy over mountain-top removal mining, preservationists concerned about the fate of this nationally significant historic place – where more than 10,000 people clashed over labor rights for coal miners in 1921 – should be sure to tune in.
Meanwhile, our work continues. Last week, the National Trust joined with the Sierra Club, the Friends of Blair Mountain, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, and the West Virginia Labor History Association to file an appeal in West Virginia to contest the dismissal of our Lands Unsuitable for Mining Petition – which would have set the Blair Mountain battlefield off-limits for surface mining.
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection did not take into account new information - including the National Park Service’s 2009 determination that Blair Mountain is eligible for the National Register - when making their determination that the petition was "frivolous."
This week, many members of our coalition are preparing comments to contest the renewal of Aracoma Coal’s Camp Branch surface mining permit, which would demolish a portion of the battlefield. Submit your own comments on this action page. The deadline for comments is Friday, August 12.
Nell Ziehl is the Program Officer in the National Trust’s Southern Field Office, which serves Maryland, Virginia, DC, and West Virginia.