Coal is on the move. U.S. exports jumped to over 40 percent in February 2005 from same time last year. U.S. imports are also on the rise, U.S.imported one-third more coal from same time last year.
    Colombia remains the top provider of U.S. import consumption with a sizable increase over the same time as last year. Venezuela, Indonesia, and Canada are also supplying import coal.
    Everybody is talking about the U.S. needing a portfolio of fuel sources to meet the future demands for power. Coal will be a major player in the short term and coal will probably remain a viable part of the U.S. energy. Coal provides 52 percent of the nationís energy mix. DOE forecasts that coal consumption will increase 22 percent by 2020.
    DOE has several clean coal projects going on that should benefit the industry. This country's want for energy is growing by leaps and bounds. We talk about being more conservative and using energy efficient and cost effective products and gadgets, but the field of technology continues to build new products that Americans want and maybe need. And, so the cycle goes.
    The utility industry is looking for more efficient and environmentally acceptable ways to provide the much needed electricity. Right now the demand side is up, however, the utilities are making huge long-term investments and it key they make the right choices. 
The Eastern Coal Council's 26th Annual Conference & Exposition, is scheduled May 23 and 24 at the MeadowView Convention Center, Kingsport, TN. The theme for this year's meeting is 
"COAL: Energy Security." During a time of unrest and uncertainly, for this country and the world, this topic deserves in depth discussion and thought. The program will address many of the topics facing the U.S. energy today. Michael G. Morris, chairman, president and chief executive officer of American Electric Power Co., Inc. will address the meeting attendees and share AEP's plans for building future generation. The program offers the brightest and best the coal, rail, and power industries have to offer. 
    President George Bush has also been invited to address the meeting attendees. As of press time, we haven't heard from the White House. We'll keep you informed. See you in Kingsport.


Kevin Crutchfield


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