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The Battle of Blair Mountain was one of the biggest civil uprisings in the United States history and the largest armed insurrection since the American Civil War. For five days in late August and early September 1921, in Logan County, West Virginia, between 10,000 and 15,000 coal miners confronted an army of police and strikebreakers backed by coal operators during a struggle by the miners to unionize the southwestern West Virginia coalfields. Their struggle ended only after approximately one million rounds were fired, and the United States Army intervened by presidential order.
The Battle of Blair Mountain was an important part of the labor movement. In April 2008, Blair Mountain was chosen for the list of protected places on the National Register of Historic Places. This decision has been contested by the state of West Virginia, therefore this nomination is currently under review.
Mountaintop removal mining is a form of surface mining that requires the removal of the summit or summit ridge of a mountain in order to permit easier access to the coal seams. After the coal is extracted, the overburden (soil, lying above the economically desired resource) is either put back onto the ridge to approximate the mountain's original contours or dumped elsewhere, often in neighboring valleys.  Mountaintop removal is most closely associated with coal mining in the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern United States. Peer-reviewed studies show that mountaintop mining has serious environmental impacts, including loss of biodiversity, that mitigation practices cannot successfully address,  as well as human health impacts from contact with affected streams or exposure to airborne toxins and dust.
Harvard Ayres is marching for a different reason. He's an archeologist and was part of a team back in 2006 that did an initial archeological survey at Blair Mountain to find artifacts and evidence to get the mountain placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2009, Blair Mountain made the Register but was removed nine months later after coal companies protested the status.
Ayres says it is critical to save Blair Mountain from being blown to bits by the coal industry.
"That site, in my estimation as an archeologist, is one of the most significant but least known battle sites in our country.”
New research produced by Southern Methodist University's Geothermal Laboratory, funded by a grant from Google.org, suggests that the temperature of the Earth beneath the state of West Virginia is significantly higher than previously estimated and capable of supporting commercial baseload geothermal energy production.