Monday, March 30, 2009

Blair Mountain, scene of epic labor battle, is put on National Register, but may be mined anyway

A West Virginia mountain that saw the largest armed conflict in U.S. labor history, in 1921 between miners who wanted to unionize and coal operators who got government help to prevent it, has been named to the National Register of Historic Places. But while labor and environmental groups sought the designation, it may have no effect on plans to strip-mine the area's mountaintops for coal. (Encarta map)

The place "includes a 10-mile stretch of Logan County ridges where thousands of miners fought federal troops as part of a United Mine Workers organizing fight," Ken Ward Jr. writes for The Charleston Gazette. "The designation covers about 1,600 acres, along a fairly narrow strip that runs northwest from near the town of Blair."

Ward reports, "The designation does not block mining, and according to state officials could not have been made unless land-owning companies in the area agreed to it." However, Massey Energy Co,, which wants to mine the area, "and several land companies filed suit to stop the state historic preservation office's support for the national site designation," Ward notes. (Read more)

No comments: