This Friday, March 26, The Young Democrats at Virginia Tech are hosting the debate “Coal: The Question of Energy.” The debate will be between students from the mining engineering department and student members of Beyond Coal at Virginia Tech, along with industry representatives who support each cause. The debate will take place in Squires Colonial at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6:30 p.m.
This debate is intended to explore all of the options and different perspectives that clean energy and coal offer. Coal is a significant part of our lives, and while everyone wants clean and sustainable energy, there are conflicting opinions on how to achieve such an important goal. The debaters will discuss topics such as workers’ rights and safety, clean coal, mountaintop removal, Tech’s coal power plant, and related economic and social topics.
We have been hearing a lot from Beyond Coal and those who support its cause these past few months, and a lot of it may involve significant and expensive infrastructure changes to our campus. We all know there is a passionate opposing side, but it has not been quite as vocal as Beyond Coal. The issues discussed in this debate affect all of us, and this will be a unique opportunity to hear different perspectives in one forum on local and global issues, free from personal interests and politics. This is not a discussion necessarily on public policy, but a debate on the future of coal and clean energy. This debate is not an all-out showdown either. It is an intellectual exploration of a very complicated and dividing issue. There will be questions accepted from the audience and a faculty member of the department of political science will moderate the debate.
The debate is also a part of “Bright Ideas: A Weekend Investigating Coal and Virginia’s Energy Future,” which consists of several events intended to explore coal and clean energy. If you are interested in the debate or other events going on this weekend, check out the Facebook events and look around campus for flyers and posters.