Appalachia's Bright Future Conference is this weekend

HARLAN, Ky. (WYMT) - Today was the second day of the "Appalachia's Bright Future" conference presented by Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.

The conference had many speakers, and many of them say change is necessary.

"Look at the renewable energies, local foods, deforestation, let's do something different," said Todd Howard, a speaker at the conference.

"We want to bring other jobs to the region and we want to bring jobs to the region that will put more wealth in local communities and help create very healthy communities," said the Chairperson for Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Suzanne Tallichet.

Officials with Kentuckians for the Commonwealth say mountaintop removal is the only type of coal mining they do not support.

"We really need to do something about the pollution and effects of a certain type of coal mining. Not all coal mining. Certain techniques that are used are obviously worse than others," Tallichet said.

"They've supported the president's attacks on coal. They've worked very hard to stop surface mining which is half the coal production in Eastern Kentucky, which I think really questions their motivations of doing today's seminar," said the president of the Kentucky Coal Association, Bill Bissett.

Suzanne Tallichet says coal jobs are an important part of Eastern Kentucky's future.

"Underground coal mining is still going to be around. And we hope it is. We hope it's part of the picture but it's not the only part of the picture," said Tallichet.

Tallichet says rebuilding the environment, tourism, farmers markets, and recreational jobs need to be the other part of that picture.

The conference continues tomorrow at the Harlan Center at 8 a.m.

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