CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The National Trust for Historic Preservation joined a lawsuit against the National Park Service last week challenging the removal of the Blair Mountain Battlefield from the National Register of Historic Places.
Removing Blair Mountain, the National Trust argues, violates federal law and endangers the preservation of the historic site.
The Battle of Blair Mountain, fought for five days in late August and early September 1921, was the largest armed confrontation in U.S. labor history.
The battle, involving thousands of union miners marching toward the non-union coalfields in Logan County, was fought along a 15-mile ridgeline between Boone and Logan counties.
The Sierra Club, Friends of Blair Mountain, West Virginia Labor History Association and Ohio Valley Environmental Council previously filed legal actions to preserve Blair Mountain.
In 2006, the National Trust listed Blair Mountain on its list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, seeking to call attention to the battlefield's significance and the threat of its destruction by surface mining.
Massey Energy and Arch Coal have been acquiring rights to mine a large portion of the battlefield using mountaintop removal mining methods.
Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust, said, "We regret that legal action had to be taken against the National Park Service, but Blair Mountain is a key landmark of American history that demands the special protection of a National Register listing."
The National Park Service removed Blair Mountain from its National Register on Dec. 30, 2009, after it had been listed for nine months.
At the time, the NPS stated "de-listing" was necessary because of a procedural error that miscalculated the percentage of property owners who objected to nominating the site for preservation.
The lawsuit argues the NPS de-listing violates National Register regulations because the list of owners was improperly changed to include real estate transactions that occurred after the nomination was announced.