The conference is sponsored by the College of Law’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development and WVU’s John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend. Registration for lunch is required, click here.

The energy conference will examine the effect of trends in the coal industry, the economy-wide repercussions within Central Appalachia, and possible solutions that would put West Virginia on a resilient path forward. It will also look at the convergence of energy and environmental policies and their impact on the region’s citizens.

Speakers at the energy conference include Charles Patton, president and COO of Appalachian Power; Mike Gerrard, director of Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law; Adele Morris, senior fellow and policy director for the Climate and Energy Economics Project at the Brookings Institution; and John Deskins, director of WVU’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

Organizations represented by panelists at the conference include Hillary for America, the West Virginia Department of Commerce, United Mine Workers, World Resources Institute, the Rockefeller Family Fund, Benedum Foundation, Sustainable Pittsburgh, Rural Policy Research Institute, Coalfield Development Corporation, Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, and the law firms of Bowles Rice and Jackson Kelly.

“It is time to take an open, honest look at the seismic transitions we face, and decide how we will take control of our future,” said Rockefeller. “We can and must both protect the needs of our coal reliant communities and build a resilient economy while we reduce our carbon footprint globally.”

Jamie Van Nostrand, director of the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development, pointed out that the global energy transition is driving changes in the region’s economies, energy resources and regulations.

“World market forces compel us to think about new opportunities and new challenges for West Virginia,” he said. “Our families, community leaders, state agencies, nonprofit organizations and federal delegation are all confronted with unprecedented changes that will require us to collectively contribute to building well-crafted solutions and charting a smart course ahead. This conference will examine where we are and where we want to be as we move forward.”

Founded in 2011, the Center for Energy and Sustainable Development at the WVU College of Law conducts objective, unbiased research and policy analyses; provides a forum for issues to be explored by stakeholders; and promotes policies that strike a balance between the development of energy resources and protection of the valuable air and water supplies upon which future generations will depend. The center’s previous national energy conferences have explored the challenges of balancing environmental preservation and economic profitability in the development of shale gas resources, the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules regulating greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, and the implications of water protection on energy production.