Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Comment period open until Friday on application for coal mine on historic Blair Mountain

Friday is the deadline for public comment with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection on Massey Energy's application for a mountaintop-removal coal mine on historic Blair Mountain. The permit would allow Massey to mine at the site of the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain, where approximately 15,000 coal miners confronted coal operators in an effort to unionize the West Virginia coal fields. The insurrection was suppressed after the U.S. Army was called in by presidential order.

In 2009, the battlefield was listed by the National Park Service on its National Register of Historic Places. Beth Wellington, a Virginia author and journalist, writes for The Guardian that the victory was short lived as "Lawyers for the coal industry convinced West Virginia state officials to ask the Park Service to de-list the site, claiming, after the deadline, to have found additional opponents to the listing." A petition from the the National Trust, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and the Sierra Club filed to re-list Blair Mountain on the register was denied by the park service in July.

"On 9 September, the Sierra Club, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Friends of Blair Mountain and the West Virginia Labor History Association filed a legal challenge to contest the site's removal from the National Register," Wellington writes. Opponents of the mining can sign an online petition to the park service. (Read more)


Maria F. Lambert said...

Please don't allow them to distroy the reminder of why our coal miners have what little protection they have now.

This is such a huge piece of our culture and history.

It would like dozing over the Statue of Liberty!!

Please Protect our Heritage...

Beth Wellington said...

Jon, thanks for bringing this article to folks' attention...Maria, thanks for all you do fighting for clean water in your community. Hope the conference in Huntington went well. I was in Knoxville for APIEL, but wished I could be in more than one place at a time!