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COAL EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT AND RESOURCE: C.E.D.A.R. participates in coal project at NC schoolCOAL EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT AND RESOURCE: C.E.D.A.R. participates in coal project at NC school
By: Mary Meadows - mary.meadows@pikevillehospital.org, Staff Writer
Published: 11/08/2013

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Medical Leader | MARY MEADOWS
BEYOND STATE BOUNDARIES: C.E.D.A.R. Vice President Rusty Justice provided a lecture about coal mining recently to a group of students who are studying coal in North Carolina.
PIKEVILLE —When a group of North Carolina students were given an assignment to learn about coal, they called a Pikeville-based coal education group.

And, for the first time in its history, Pikeville-based C.E.D.A.R. (Coal Education Development and Resource) answered that call and extended its educational outreach to a group of students in another state.

“They’ve never done this before and we’ve never done this before, so we’re all excited about it,” said John Justice, president of C.E.D.A.R.

C.E.D.A.R. Vice President Rusty Justice, who works with Harkins Mineral Associates in Floyd County, answered questions and taught a group of students at the Brunswick Early College High School, located 479 miles from Pikeville in Bolivia, North Carolina.

The Oct. 31 presentation was made possible via Skype at the University of Pikeville’s Community Technology Center, located on the first floor of the Pikeville Public Library.

The North Carolina school grouped teams of students and asked each team to present a proposal to a fictitious “city council” to get approval to build a power plant powered by specific methods of energy, like coal and other energy sources.

“You’re going to win this argument,” Justice told the students who will be proposing a coal-fired power plant in the school project. He told them that having a coal fired power plant would provide cheaper electricity and, bring jobs to the region.

“Coal is the most reliable and cost effective form of electricity,” he told the students. “There’s enough coal in the U.S. to last, at current burn rates, 250 years.”

He talked to the students about how to address issues their “city council” may have against the use of coal, explaining that sequestration and clean coal methods could reduce environmental pollution and the byproducts of burning coal can be used to manufacture numerous products, like concrete.

He addressed the concerns some people have about strip mining.

“Mining is a temporary land use it’s really not a permanent land use,” he explained. “If you go to your local soccer field, you’ll see that it wasn’t always a soccer field. It was a farm land, it was a native grass land, a forest, it was something, and somebody brought it from that to the next use. It will probably not always be a soccer field. One of these days they may build a building on it and that’s an example of temporary land use.”

He believes that America should have a diverse energy portfolio so that it obtains its energy from several different types of power plants.

He asked the students to read an article published recently in Spiegel regarding an “energy revolution” that was geared to turn Germany away from nuclear power over to renewable sources like solar and wind power.

The policy required the expansion of wind farms and resulted in “steeply rising costs” and “questionable environmental advantages,” the magazine reported, noting that the country had to rely on coal-powered plants to “compensate for the still-lacking infrastructure” and the closing of its nuclear plants.

“What they found is that by just focusing on one type of energy, saying one energy is bad and one energy is good, that is really a bad way of doing it,” Justice told the students.

“They have driven up electricity costs almost double but they have actually increased the amount of coal they’re burning, not reduced it.” 

He commended the school for challenging students to learn about energy.

C.E.D.A.R. will send the class a “coal care package,” with blocks of coal and pamphlets of information about coal mining.

Formed in 1993 by the North Carolina Coal Institute and Coal Operators and Associates of Pikeville, C.E.D.A.R. works to teach students about the benefits of the coal industry.

Since it was established in eastern Kentucky, the organization has also helped organize other C.E.D.A.R. groups in western Kentucky, southwest Virginia and southern West Virginia.

For more information, visit http://cedarinc.org.

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