The Forum on the Future of Energy has been scheduled for January 21, 2010, at the institution’s Geary Auditorium, with arguments to be presented by Massey Energy chairman Don Blankenship and environmentalist Robert F Kennedy.
The event will be moderated by UC president Edwin Welch.
While the 6.30pm event is invitation only, the school said another 2000 seats would be open to the public at its Eddie King Gymnasium, where it would show a live remote broadcast.
UC said Blankenship had recently referred to global warming as a “hoax and a Ponzi scheme” in a Forbes interview, and that clean coal and carbon sequestration were “not do-able”, while coal was the nation’s only chance to be energy independent.
Kennedy, son of the late senator Robert F Kennedy, is an attorney and president of Waterkeeper Alliance. UC said he had previously told the Washington Post that mountaintop removal mining was “the worst environmental tragedy in American history” and an “Appalachian apocalypse”
Welch said the event would be a chance for the school to help “flesh out” the issues of the debate surrounding coal’s role in the energy future of the nation.
“The future direction of US energy policy is a vital concern to the people of West Virginia, many of whom rely on the coal industry for their livelihood,” he said.
“We are thrilled to be able to bring together two individuals who are deeply involved in this issue on the national stage.”
Blankenship told the university, “American energy policy impacts jobs, the economy, and national security.
“I’m pleased to have the opportunity to address these important issues with Dr Welch and Mr Kennedy and clarify what I believe is the right direction for our country’s future.”