Editorial: Coal Conference concession
July 13, 2011
The coal industry is the foundation of our community, and the decision by event organizers to change the location of the annual coal conference to Steamboat Springs is disappointing.
Monday's news about the Colorado Coal Power Generation Conference was a mixed bag for Craig and Moffat County.
The conference, originally set for May in Moffat County, was rescheduled for August, ensuring days of discussion about an industry that's the bedrock of our local community.
But, the location was changed to Steamboat Springs, a town only 40 miles away but one that doesn't value the industry as much.
On the surface, the location change seems insulting to Craig and Moffat County, however the logic behind switching locations isn't without merit, the Editorial Board contends.
Due to problems booking speakers, the original date was canceled. Organizers then devised a new plan for the coal conference that entailed essentially piggybacking it with the Colorado Water Congress Conference's annual meeting in Steamboat Springs.
The audience that will appear for the water conference is largely the same audience desired for the coal event, organizers said.
But, all is not lost for our community. Craig and Moffat County will play a role in the coal conference.
Organizers have arranged several trips from the event in Steamboat Springs to sites in our community. Nonetheless, it would have been nice for our community to remain the event host.
One big drawback from the Colorado House Bill 10-1365 process was that policymakers weren't able to put a face to our coal community. The decision-makers didn't meet the people in our community until after the new legislation was basically a done deal.
An event like the coal conference in our hometown would be great exposure and provide public officials with a glimpse into how important coal is here. Without the industry, there aren't jobs, restaurants, stores, schools, the hospital, community college … the list goes on.
But, the location change is set, and our community can still benefit from the conference.
The event may not be at home, but we can tell people about it.
The Editorial Board encourages local residents and public officials to attend the conference. Our community needs a vocal contingent to learn more about the industry, and more importantly, provide our community with a voice.
The board also requests organizers reconsider the event location in future years, and hopefully bring the event back to its rightful home, where coal is truly appreciated.
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