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Officials Move to Protect Historic Battleground from Coal Mining


State mining regulators have ordered a coal company to add a buffer zone at a surface mine near Blair Mountain.

The 1,000-foot buffer zone ordered by the Department of Environmental Protection is aimed at prevented mining activities from coming too close to the site where coal miners trying to unionize fought police and hired guns in 1921.

Division of Mining and Reclamation acting director Harold Ward tells the Charleston Gazette that state inspectors discovered that Aracoma Coal's state permit for its Camp Branch mine didn't include a buffer zone.

Ward says the change will affect about 50 to 60 acres at the mine.

Alpha spokesman Steve Higginbottom says the company doesn't believe the change will have an adverse impact on its permit.

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