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Coal Symposium "Coal Its Future"

Coal Symposium focuses on 'Coal Its Future'

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BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (AP) - The 2014 West Virginia Coal Symposium was brought to Bluefield State College as a way for the key players in the coal industry could help figure out what's next for the industry. 

US Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., told attendees the coal industry is in bad shape if things don't change soon. 

"There's going to be a long demand for coal," Manchin said. "Even for the next three or four decades, coal will be the primary energy source," Manchin said. 

Manchin was the moderator for the panel discussion, and the panel was open to questions from anyone who attended the Event. Manchin said he and other leaders know that it's not looking good for coal. 

"We are in bad shape in wv and the only thing we can do is go through congress," said West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney. "We have to get a grip on the president and this administration."

Coal miners at the event said the use of cleaner natural gas has been threatening coal miners jobs for a while and they know things need to change. A former coal miner at the symposium, Fred Powers, said he feels like the government owes the miners. 

"Give us a break, goodness gracious," Powers said. "We provided the fuel for the industrial revolution. We provided fuel for the ships."

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