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Local radio show discusses coal future

By: Rebekah Pewitt Email
By: Rebekah Pewitt Email

WHITESBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - A declining coal industry has community leaders looking at future economic options for the region.

It's no secret that Eastern Kentucky's Coal Industry has seen better days, but coal miner Carl Shoupe says he does not see it bouncing back any time soon.

“I’ve seen coal do what we call boom and bust, and I'm just concerned that the boom is over as far as coal goes,” said Shoupe.

So this small panel at WMMT Radio discussed economic options to pick up where coal drops off.

Topics ranged from developing renewable energy sources to the small business market.

“We all have great ideas and big visions but when you get right down to it is the small day to day things that matter and that accumulate over time,” said attorney Tim Belcher.

Small business owner Amelia Kirby says those businesses have proven to be successful in Whitesburg.

“There's just that kind of energy that people think, ‘this place is not dying this place is alive and we want to be part of it,’” said Kirby.

They say without some kind of economic development, the region's future is at stake.

“This is home, and it's a place where those of us who grew up here don't want to have to leave. And so it's on us to figure out what's next and figure out what has to work,” said Kirby.

Tonight's discussion was held in anticipation of the Appalachia's Bright Future Conference.

It will be held on April 19th-21st in Harlan to discuss future economic development.

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