Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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Editorials

September 11, 2013

Coal Show

Biennial gathering opens today

— — Cycles — some big and some small — have been one of the constants throughout the history of the region’s still robust coal industry. Throughout the decades the industry has demonstrated an uncanny resilience that has been time-tested and capable of adapting to seemingly insurmountable change.

The newest challenge — and seemingly insurmountable obstacle facing the industry — comes from Washington, and an administration that has led a nonsensical war on coal both through words and actions. And a president who has openly advocated green energy over one of the nation’s most abundant fossil fuels.

But there is nothing Washington can do this week to mute the buzz surrounding this year’s Bluefield Coal Show. When the doors to the Brushfork Armory are opened this morning, the 20th biennial Bluefield Coal Show will be underway.

Once again thousands of coal supporters will converge upon Bluefield. This includes an impressive 240 exhibitors from 30 states, as well as the United Kingdom, Canada and Germany. The gathering provides not only a tremendous economic boost for the region, it also remains the premier coal show in the eastern United States.

 This year’s seminars will feature presentations by John Pippy, chief executive officer of the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance (“The Power of Now”); Bill Bissett, president of the Kentucky Coal Association (“A Tale of Two Coalfields, The Future of Kentucky Coal”); Thornton Newton, legislative counsel, Virginia Coal Association (“A Richmond Perspective on the Coal Industry”); and Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association (“West Virginia Coal — Pushing Forward”).

In addition, The National Mining Association will once again have a computer bank set up to enable exhibitors and attendees to directly contact their federal elected representatives. Letters will be available online to address the issue of supporting coal jobs and affordable coal-generated electricity.

The benefits of the coal show are two fold. Not only does the show serve as a regional and national showcase for coal, it also provides a tremendous economic boost to the region. Thousands of out-of-town visitors will be in the area. Hotels and motels across the Bluefield and Beckley region have been booked in advance of today’s show.

Local restaurants, malls, department stores and convenience stores will also benefit from the thousands of visitors to our region over the next three days. These are new dollars being spent in our community.

Preparing for the 2013 Bluefield Coal Show has been a difficult task for the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce, and a team of dedicated volunteers who are key to making the show a reality. This includes working to get all of the big machinery and big tents set up at the armory for today’s gathering.

Essentially, a small city has been constructed at the National Guard Armory in Brushfork by the chamber staff and a number of volunteers.

We salute and congratulate everyone who helped to coordinate and organize this massive undertaking. Given the current climate toward coal in Washington, today’s gathering will be one of the most important coal shows in the region’s history.

Coal is a significant part of our past, our present and our future. It is still one of the nation’s most abundant and dependable energy sources. Coal is still responsible for keeping the lights on in West Virginia, and across America.

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