WV region at centre of planned December forum

THE importance of coal to the northcentral region of West Virginia, as well as issues that continue to impact the industry, will be the focus of a special coal forum next month in Morgantown.

Donna Schmidt

Hosted by the West Virginia Coal Forum and the Morgantown Chamber of Commerce, the gathering is set to kick off at 11.30am at the Waterfront Place Hotel.

US House of Representatives congressman David McKinley has been invited to speak and other planned presenters include National Research Center for Coal and Energy director Richard Bajura, West Virginia Coal Association president Bill Raney, state Energy Division director Jeff Herholdt and WV Coal Forum co-chairs Fred Tucker and Chris Hamilton, who is also WVCA vice president.

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

The organisers noted that the state’s coal accounted for 49% of the nation’s exports last year.

“The Coal Forum program will highlight our state’s leading role as an energy provider to the world, the benefits of the severance tax to northcentral West Virginia and federal policies impacting the industry,” the organisers said.

The event, which is free and includes a buffet lunch, is expected to adjourn by about 2pm.

However, seating is limited, so reservations are required.

To make a reservation, email Joel Watts at rsvp@wvcoalforum.org.