Coal family burns bright

AT 14,000 members strong, grassroots organization FORCE (Families Organized to Represent the Coal Economy) believes it has an awfully good chance of uniting companies and individuals associated with Pennsylvania coal.

Donna Schmidt
Coal family burns bright

Published in the December 2005 American Longwall Magazine


The organization was formed in 2003 to educate and inform its membership and the public of the essential role coal and the coal industry play in Pennsylvania’s society, communities and economy.


“FORCE provides an avenue for all companies and individuals that do business with Pennsylvania coal to unite and become a strong, positive voice in support of our state’s coal industry and the businesses and jobs related to it,” FORCE director Jeanine Rainone said.


FORCE’s membership (100 companies representing more than 14,000 individuals) comprises companies, employees and their families that experience income and business opportunities, either directly or indirectly, because of Pennsylvania coal.


Rainone said the biggest challenges facing United States miners today was maintaining a safe, efficient work environment while meeting the demand for increased production, keeping pace with technology and working with a new workforce as the old, seasoned force retires.


She also suggested a chief challenge was trying to maintain mining jobs and opportunities by overcoming the public’s misguided perception of coal mining.


To overcome these challenges, Rainone said the industry needed to capitalize on its newly attained opportunities.


“With our need to reduce dependence on foreign energy sources, the escalating costs of gas and oil, and the increasing demand for electricity, coal is seeing resurgence and opportunities are there for all sectors of the industry,” she said.


“For the coal operators it is the opportunity to boost production, expand and/or open mines, and experience the long awaited interest and even support for the industry.


“Mining companies need to take advantage of this boom and to make sure they position themselves to be players for the long-term energy demand.


“For manufacturers and suppliers it is not only the challenge of meeting the demand for equipment and supplies but a strong opportunity to research and develop innovative technologies that will not only enhance and boost current productivity and safety, but will introduce equipment for mining more difficult and deeper seams.


“And finally, for each of us, it is the opportunity to encourage and promote a favorable public policy and a positive image of coal as an economic driver and a dependable, economical energy source.”


FORCE’s year ahead is once again a busy one with its usual annual spring dinner for networking and information.


Past speakers at the dinner have included Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell, Consol chief J Brett Harvey, DEP deputy secretary Joseph Powers and Foundation Coal Holdings chief James Roberts.


The organization’s second annual event - the FORCE Hurricane Classic – is held in September.


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