There's been a change in the coal industry. These past few months the coal industry has undergone dramatic changes:
- The energy bill passed and President Bush signed it into law. Many folks say we would not have gotten the energy bill had gas prices not been skyrocketing, after all Americans do love their vehicles.
- The energy bill offers cost contributions, direct loans, and loan guarantees for some of the most advanced coal technologies. DOE will spend about $200 million per fiscal year beginning in 2006 and running through 2014 on clean coal projects. Seventy percent of the funds are earmarked for coal gasification technologies. 
- Coal is now sponsoring a nationwide golf tour at the Pete Dye Golf Club in Bridgeport, WV. This unique course has a coalmine theme. The tee markers are from the coal railroad. Some of the greens are very large. The course reflects a true integration of the game and the environment. It features remnants of coal mining activity, including exposed, surface mined high walls, a rotary car tipple, coal-laden mine cars, a cart path through a once active deep mine, and waterfalls that originate from deep mining activity of days gone by. Approximately half the holes have water coming into play. Millions of people hear about the coal industry and learn how the industry returns mined land to beautiful and productive land. 
- Manufacturing companies are enjoying record sales and times. There are back orders for just about any piece of machinery a company buys. 
    The Bluefield Coal Show has a record number of exhibitors this year with more waiting in the wings hoping to get the opportunity to display. The Coal Show is sponsored by the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce and is billed as a "Coal Show for Coal People." 
    Coal is getting more attention from the educational community. Education is key to the acceptance and use of any new technology. There are several programs promoting coal through education. Some of the programs target educators, offering them hands on experiences. Other programs target the young students with incentives to do research projects on various aspects of coal. Still other programs provide scholarships to students interested in pursuing careers in mining.
    Coal Leader has added another page "Education News." The education page is to share the news as to the many programs in place throughout the country. Please send notices about upcoming events and follow up with pictures and information about the event. The more we hear the more we learn.
    Stop by booth ____ and visit with us during the Bluefield Coal Show. 



Kevin Crutchfield


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