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news – april 2010

Imagine West Virginia Members Receive Washington Briefings on Coal-Related Activities at their Annual Spring Meeting

speaker Franz Wuerfmannsdobler of the U.S. Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee responds to questioning from the Imagine West Virginia membership The Imagine West Virginia Board of Governors gathered outside of Washington, DC at the Holiday Inn at Reagan National Airport on April 13, 2010 to participate in its annual Spring meeting. Dr. Peter Magrath was officially welcomed as the newest member to join the organization and agree to guide its policy endeavors.

This was a special gathering, as members had a unique opportunity to hear from a host of distinguished speakers about current coal-related activities that were taking place to influence Congressional thinking, policy development, federal research and industry planning around more responsible fossils use and management.

Two distinct panels were convened to provide briefings to the Imagine board about current coal debates, and discussion was thoughtful, rich and reflective.

The first panel assembled was comprised of representatives from various Congressional offices involved in coal policy development. Sam Petsonk, a legislative aide to the late-Senator Robert C. Byrd, provided an overview of the Senator’s work on coal issues, highlighting observations about West Virginia coal production, supply and demand markets, severance receipts and mine safety. Tom Dower, a staff member of the U.S. Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and a key advisor to Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, shared insights about the Senator’s work to advance responsible coal-based research and development like carbon capture in lieu of Congressional climate debates, the work being performed by the Morgantown-based National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) and the Obama Administration’s intent to pass comprehensive energy reform. Franz Wuerfmannsdobler, a staff member of the U.S. Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee and a former policy advisor to Senator Byrd, briefed members on investment packages that have fueled the U.S. Department of Energy’s efforts to promote cleaner, less impactful coal use, energy efficiency and international clean energy deployment standards and programs.

All three led spirited exchanges on coal use around the globe, NETL’s economic impact on West Virginia and the region, the urgency for greater U.S. investment in carbon capture and sequestration technology development and deployment, and how coal might best be used as a “bridge” to a future low-carbon economy.

Select Hand-Outs:

conference Dr. Peter Blair makes a point about opportunities surrounding coal-based research and technologies A second panel consisted of specialists who work in fields of coal-related advocacy, policy development and data research. Mr. Ben Yamagata, Executive Director of the Coal Utilization Research Council (CURC), spoke about his organization’s work and delivered a presentation on Carbon Management: the Role of Coal with Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS)Dr. Peter Blair, Executive Director, Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences (DEPS) at the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), spoke about his contributions to a recent NAS publication that facilitates an informed, national dialogue on U.S. energy sector reforms that need to take place to ensure American competitiveness. Dr. Blair summarized his work in a presentation titled America’s Energy Future: Technology and TransformationMr. Scott Sitzer, Director of the Energy Information Administration (EIA) Office of Coal, Nuclear, Electric and Alternative Fuels, provided analysis of coal markets in America and around the globe and he shared observations about how these markets are being influenced by economic, regulatory, scientific and environmental issues. Mr. Sitzer’s presentation was titled Status of and Outlook for Coal Supply and Demand in the U.S.        

Presentations and Supplementary Materials:

View photos from the event: