It's the tenth year for the Carroll Engineering Coal Expo in Pineville. But this year, the stakes are much higher, as the industry faces criticism from Washington, D.C. and new safety guidelines.
There is a different feel at this year's coal expo.
"There's still a degree of uncertainty, because you have a president and an EPA who is very critical of coal, for a lot of different reasons," said Bill Bissett of the Kentucky Coal Association.
"We feel like our government at this day and time is not supporting coal as much as we would like to see it," said Allen Haywood of Carroll Engineering.
All this comes as the industry tries to keep moving on and creating new technologies.
The expo featured new mining safety systems and ways to improve mining efficiency.
Those systems include better mine tracking technologies that can pinpoint a miner's exact location underground. That comes in response to the Miner Act signed by President Bush in 2006.
Industry leaders hope officials in Washington, D.C. will continue to pay attention to Eastern Kentuckians.
"I think the voices are getting louder and louder as time goes on. I think they are realizing that they are being heard," said Haywood.
"People believe in this industry, and we just need to remind them. That's the truth, especially here in the Eastern coalfields," said Bissett.
Leaders said they will support the industry as long as they can.