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Coal exports at heart of WV meeting

SEVERAL state experts and policy leaders from across West Virginia will be convening next week for a coal forum to discuss the importance of exports.

Donna Schmidt

The West Virginia Coal Forum, an organization made up of both coal labor and management representatives, will discuss exports’ role in the state and national economies beginning at 11.30am August 15 at West Liberty University’s Highland Energy Center in Triadelphia, near Wheeling.

Some of those on the schedule for the one-day event include US Congressman David McKinley, WV Division of Energy director Jeff Herholdt, United Coal CEO Michael Zervos and West Virginia Coal Association president Bill Raney.

Chris Hamilton, who serves as WVCA vice president and is co-chair of the Coal Forum, will be in attendance along with fellow forum chair and retired United Mine Workers of America official Fred Tucker.

Seating is limited for the event, and reservations are required. Organizers said all stakeholders were urged to attend the event, from mining personnel to legislators, policy leaders and industry leaders.

To make a reservation to attend, email Joel Watts at joel.l.watts@wv.gov.

According to information released by the West Virginia Division of Commerce in February, West Virginia coal exports grew by 40% in 2012, increasing from $5.3 billion in 2011 to $7.4 billion in 2012.

The state’s coal accounted for 49% of all US coal exports last year.

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