For Immediate Release: 04/30/10
Civil War Preservation Trust Applauds Decision in Legal Challenge to Wilderness Walmart Plan
(Orange, Va.) – The legal challenge filed against the approval of a controversial Wal-Mart supercenter and associated retail development at the Wilderness Battlefield will move forward to trial, following a decision issued today by the Orange County Circuit Court. James Lighthizer, president of the Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT), issued the following statement in support of the ruling:
“On behalf of the Civil War Preservation Trust and its 55,000 members, I applaud today’s decision by Judge Daniel R. Bouton allowing this litigation to move forward. His ruling recognizes that the issues raised by the preservation community in this case are thoughtful and complex arguments deserving of the court’s full attention.
“This is tremendous news for all of our nation’s threatened historic resources. The fight to protect the Wilderness Battlefield has only just begun.”
In September 2009, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Friends of Wilderness Battlefield and six local residents filed suit against the Orange County Board of Supervisors, alleging serious errors in the hearing and approval procedure. CWPT and the National Parks Conservation Association filed a joint amicus curiae brief in support of the litigation.
Today’s decision overrules the County’s motion to dismiss the preservation community’s charges as lacking merit. It also addresses the County’s allegation that none of the plaintiffs had appropriate standing to file suit. Judge Bouton ruled that Friends of Wilderness Battlefield and the six citizen plaintiffs would remain as plaintiffs, while removing the National Trust from the litigation.
With 55,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s remaining Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds through education and heritage tourism. Since 1987, the organization has helped save more than 29,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states, including 685 acres in Orange County. The CWPT website is located at www.civilwar.org.