Blair Mountain Remains Under Threat After Court Ruling

Statement by David J. Brown, executive vice president and chief preservation officer of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

A federal district court in Washington, D.C. Tuesday ruled against a group of national and local organizations seeking to reinstate Blair Mountain to the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places. The plaintiffs - Sierra Club, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Friends of Blair Mountain, Inc., West Virginia Labor History Association, National Trust for Historic Preservation and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy – are seeking the designation to help protect the threatened battlefield.  The following is a statement by David J. Brown, executive vice president and chief preservation officer of the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

 “Yesterday’s ruling creates a no-win situation for preservationists and environmentalists fighting to protect the Blair Mountain battlefield and America’s labor history. According to the court, it’s too late to seek legal protection for portions of the battlefield that are permitted for surface mining, but too early to assume that the owners of permits will actually use them to mine.  This regrettable decision undermines the intent of the federal laws passed by Congress to protect significant historic properties and our national heritage.”

Background on Blair Mountain:

The battlefield in Logan County, W. Va., is the nationally-significant site of a 1921 armed uprising of thousands of coal miners seeking the right to unionize. The battlefield, which the National Trust listed as one of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places in 2006, is threatened with surface mining, and a National Register listing would provide additional protection for the battlefield. 

 

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.
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