These are interesting and exciting times for energy of all types and certainly coal-based energy. We had over 300 people attend the Eastern Coal Council's 26th Annual Conference this year. The attendees heard about American Electric Power's plans to build a new $1 billion Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) generation plant. We heard that Dominion Energy is planning to build a new coal-fired power plant in Virginia's coalfields. We also heard in 2005, Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities will purchase over 15 millions tons of coal. 
    The attendees heard the need for coal, rail, and power industries to join together and address the public's perception for coal and coal-fired electricity. The industries must develop a vision for the future for coal- based energy. We must share this vision with the public. Polls show that most Americans 50 years old have no idea what coal is used for.
    In Washington they are working to pass the Energy Bill. The House has passed a bill that will be most beneficial to coal. They were successful in adding a number of tax and incentives, $1.5 billion in accelerated depreciation tax benefits for utilities that choose to use the new generation of clean coal technology including IGCC. Some members of the Senate are working to retain the accelerated depreciation, which is on a 60 month schedule, working to add investment tax credits totaling about $1.5 billion. Several amendments to the bill have been offered, the McCain/Lieberman amendment and the Bingaman climate amendment.     These amendments are too costly. Both of the proposed amendments would require mandatory reductions in greenhouse gas emissions the will result in serious economic consequences. Starting in 2009, the McCain/Lieberman amendment reductions in greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced to 2000 levels. This would be devastating to the coal and coal-fired utilities.
    We urge the members of Congress to support comprehensive energy legislation, which will help secure America's long-range energy future. Electricity needs will grow by 50 percent over the next 20 years. The bill should support research, development and deployment of new and multiple Clean Coal Technologies. Let's hope we get an energy bill this session. Write letters to your Senators and urge them to work toward passage of the energy bill, which is vital to this country's energy security and independence from foreign sources. 
    We must all become more involved and committed to public awareness and education for the coal industry. Now is the time to make a difference.  



Kevin Crutchfield


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