Tennessee leaders discuss coal importance at annual conference

POSTED: 11:03 PM May 21 2013   UPDATED: 5:46 PM May 21 2013
Haslam
KINGSPORT, Tenn. -

 Tennessee lawmakers were talking coal and its importance in the Volunteer State on Tuesday.  Governor Bill Haslam was the featured speaker at the 34th annual Coal Conference in Kingsport. 

The Governor told coal industry leaders, Tennessee is concerned about the future of coal.  Governor Haslam says about 17,000 Tennesseans work in the coal industry.

Governor Haslam says 40 percent of the electricity in the U.S. is powered by coal, a natural resource, which also produces jobs in Tennessee. "A lot of folks are saying we can do away with coal.  Why don't we use wind or hydro or nuclear?  For right now that's not a realistic proposition for our state," Haslam said. "The product these folks produce we depend up on to keep our industry rolling so the folks can have jobs in Tennessee."

Coal leaders have spent the last two days talking about how to position the coal industry for the future.