War sites embattled

2 Civil War fields in Md. endangered, trust warns

March 19, 2009|By Timothy B. Wheeler | Timothy B. Wheeler,tim.wheeler@baltsun.com

A proposed trash incinerator and a planned natural gas plant threaten to encroach on two Civil War battlefield sites in Western Maryland, a preservation group warned yesterday.

The Washington-based Civil War Preservation Trust said recent developments have put the Monocacy National Battlefield near Frederick and South Mountain near Middletown on its list of the nation's most endangered battlefields from that war.

"In town after town, the irreplaceable battlefields that define those communities are being marred forever," said O. James Lighthizer, the trust's president.

Frederick County officials are weighing whether to build a $527 million waste-to-energy incinerator across the Monocacy River from the site of an 1864 clash when Confederate forces marched on Washington. The 350-foot smokestack from the incinerator, which would burn trash from Frederick and Carroll counties, would loom over the National Park Service site. A bill introduced in the Maryland Senate to bar incinerators within a mile of a national park has yet to be heard.

A Virginia-based energy company has bought 135 acres near Fox's Tavern in Middletown, where it plans to build a $55 million natural gas compression plant, the trust says. The site is on South Mountain, where Union and Confederate troops fought before colliding again across Antietam Creek.

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