Blair Mountain’s removal from historic places appealed - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Blair Mountain’s removal from historic places appealed

Posted: Updated:
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Officials confirm "inappropriate behavior " at Shady Spring football game

    Officials confirm "inappropriate behavior " at Shady Spring football game

    Officials confirm "inappropriate behavior " at Shady Spring football game

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 4:21 PM EDT2014-09-02 20:21:17 GMT
    Shady Spring High school's season opener versus Princeton High school had what students call a disturbance.Director of People Services, Jeff McClung, did confirm that some students were acting out."Shady Spring High School administration has notified the county office of inappropriate behavior at the game. I'm proud of the diligence they've had at the game enforcing the school policies," McClung Said.Students told me they witnessed over 10 of their fellow students sneaking alcohol into the ga...
    Shady Spring High school's season opener versus Princeton High school had what students call a disturbance.Director of People Services, Jeff McClung, did confirm that some students were acting out."Shady Spring High School administration has notified the county office of inappropriate behavior at the game. I'm proud of the diligence they've had at the game enforcing the school policies," McClung Said.Students told me they witnessed over 10 of their fellow students sneaking alcohol into the ga...
  • Mercer County man sentenced on child porn charges

    Mercer County man sentenced on child porn charges

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 4:03 PM EDT2014-09-02 20:03:45 GMT
    A child pornography case out of Mercer County lead to the sentencing of a Bluefield, WV man on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. David A. Punturi, 54, will serve nine years in federal prison and 20 years of supervised release, after being sentenced in front of Judge David A. Faber.
    A child pornography case out of Mercer County lead to the sentencing of a Bluefield, WV man on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014. David A. Punturi, 54, will serve nine years in federal prison and 20 years of supervised release, after being sentenced in front of Judge David A. Faber.
  • Victim identified in fatal accident near Cyclone, WV

    Victim identified in fatal accident near Cyclone, WV

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 2:11 PM EDT2014-09-02 18:11:16 GMT
    According to officials in Wyoming County, the driver was thrown from the vehicle.
    According to officials in Wyoming County, the driver was thrown from the vehicle.
  • EnergyEnergyMore>>

  • UPDATE: WV leaders applaud possible energy company expansion

    UPDATE: WV leaders applaud possible energy company expansion

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 11:05 AM EDT2014-09-02 15:05:44 GMT
    House Speaker Tim Miley, D-Harrison, said the announcement of four major energy companies partnering to build a proposed natural gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline is another step toward expanding West Virginia's economy.
    House Speaker Tim Miley, D-Harrison, said the announcement of four major energy companies partnering to build a proposed natural gas Atlantic Coast Pipeline is another step toward expanding West Virginia's economy.
  • WV Wilderness group fights against gas companies over pipeline in Pocahontas County

    WV Wilderness group fights against gas companies over pipeline in Pocahontas County

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:40 AM EDT2014-09-02 14:40:53 GMT
    The West Virginia Wilderness group has been fighting three gas companies for months, who want to put a pipeline in Pocahontas County .Lauren Ragland is the founder of West Virginia Wilderness and said the pipeline does not belong in Pocahontas County.
    The West Virginia Wilderness group has been fighting three gas companies for months, who want to put a pipeline in Pocahontas County .Lauren Ragland is the founder of West Virginia Wilderness and said the pipeline does not belong in Pocahontas County.
  • Dominion, Duke to build $5B natural gas pipeline

    Dominion, Duke to build $5B natural gas pipeline

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 9:20 AM EDT2014-09-02 13:20:59 GMT
    Dominion Resources, Duke Energy and other partners have proposed building a $5 billion natural gas pipeline to connect the Southeast with the prodigious supplies of natural gas being produced in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.
    Dominion Resources, Duke Energy and other partners have proposed building a $5 billion natural gas pipeline to connect the Southeast with the prodigious supplies of natural gas being produced in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia.

The Sierra Club filed its appeal of a federal court ruling that upheld a decision to remove Blair Mountain Battlefield from the National Register of Historic Places.

The largest armed labor battle in history took place on the mountain in 1921. At that time thousands of coal miners faced armed guards, prompting federal intervention.

Blair has been on the historic places list since March 2009, when it was added by the National Park Service, but it was reversed nine months later over a property dispute. A number of organizations representing labor, environmental and historical preservation groups filed a lawsuit seeking to reverse the decision.

"With the exception of the Civil War, the Blair battle is the largest insurrection in U.S. history," said Regina Hendrix of the West Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club. "We cannot let this rich, undisturbed, site be wiped away forever. The area is a vital part of U.S. labor history. The archaeological record waiting to be explored will clearly show the places where the battle occurred, as well as the intensity of the battle at different sites. The archaeological record has lain dormant for 90 years along the Spruce Fork Ridge from Blair Mountain to Mill Creek and it cries out for our protection."

The groups fear that coal mining activity might destroy the Blair Mountain property. The October ruling claimed the groups did not have legal standing to challenges the de-listing because there was not enough evidence to suggest imminent threat of mining to the site.

Despite coal permits for the area, the companies owning those properties have not chosen to mine that property. In the October ruling, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton said the groups appealing Blair's removal did not know of any evidence of future plans to mine

Arch Coal, Massey Energy and Natural Resources Partners filed a petition to the National Register to mine coal in the region near Blair Mountain.

Kenny King, a board member on Friends of Blair Mountain and lifelong Blair resident said the mountain is a "center-piece of American labor history and West Virginia culture.

"The courageous resistance of ten thousand striking coal miners in 1921 was an outcry for basic human rights," King said. "Blair Mountain must not fall to the insatiable greed of the coal industry but rather stand as a monument that honors the gains for which those miners sacrificed their lives and livelihoods. Never before, nor since have so many American workers taken up arms to fight for their constitutional rights. Blair Mountain, West Virginia stands not only as a reminder of our proud history, but also as a living symbol of hope for all who seek justice."

For many, including Julian Martin of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, the fight to preserve Blair Mountain goes beyond environmental and historical debate. It's personal.

"Blair Mountain is an important part of my family's history," Martin said. "My grandfather and great uncle fought at Blair Mountain in 1921 on the side of the United Mine Workers of America. It would be a huge loss for Blair Mountain to be unprotected from mountaintop removal strip mining."