Blair Mountain Defenders Protest Logan County Coal Companies

Cross Posted from KMOV 

Activists trying to save the Blair Mountain battlefield from coal mining protested Friday in West Virginia and Missouri, at the offices of two companies that control access to much of the land where unionizing coal miners fought authorities in 1921.

A coalition of historic preservationists, environmentalists and others targeted both the Huntington offices of Natural Resource Partners and the suburban St. Louis headquarters of Arch Coal. They’re among several coal companies that either own or lease land on the Logan County mountain and control its coal reserves. Some have permits to mine.

The battle at Blair was the nation’s largest armed uprising since the Civil War, and the Logan County mountain is considered an important site in the American labor movement. Some 10,000 coal miners faced down a dug-in army of police and private security guards in a battle that left 16 men dead before the miners surrendered to federal troops.

Arch spokeswoman Kim Link said about 25 protesters gathered outside the company’s offices for a peaceful protest monitored by police. No arrests were made. NRP declined to comment.

(Chuck) Keeney, (chairman of Friends of Blair Mountain) said the protesters are continuing a momentum they developed last summer when hundreds staged a 50-mile march from Charleston to Blair to raise awareness of the mountain’s history and build support for preserving it.

“I don’t think that blasting is imminent,” he said, “but by the time it gets to the point where blasting is imminent, it will be too late.”

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