CHARLESTON – A member of the Jackson Kelly Environmental Practice Group recently was nominated and appointed as a member of the National Coal Council.
David M. Flannery will serve a two-year term with the National Coal Council.
Flannery said the National Coal Council is a Federal Advisory Committee that was chartered in 1984 to inform and make recommendations to the Secretary of Energy on matters related to coal or the coal industry.
"In recent years, the National Coal Council has been requested by the Secretary of Energy to study a variety of issues related to coal and its utilization," Flannery said. "In each of these cases, the Council has provided the Secretary of Energy with a careful and balanced assessment of the issues and offered specific recommendations for action that might be undertaken by the Secretary and others."
Flannery said at the request of the Council, he served as the lead author on the Legal and Regulatory Chapter if its report that was issued in 2011.
"The report made a series of recommendations related to the development of a program for the long-term sequestration of carbon dioxide in geologic formations, which is a matter that is critical to the long-term future of coal and natural gas as a fuel for electric power generation," Flannery said.
Flannery said there is much attention being given to the role of coal in the nation's energy future, so he is confident that these issues will be a matter of great interest to the Council.
"One of the specific tasks to be undertaken immediately by the Council is the development of additional recommendations to the Secretary of Energy on how carbon dioxide might be captured from coal-fired power plants and put to a constructive use, such as injection into geologic formations to enhance the production of oil," Flannery said.
Flannery has also been involved in other similar organizations over the course of his career.
"I have been blessed with the opportunity to participate in several outstanding organizations that do an outstanding job of striking the proper balance between economic growth and environmental protection," he said. "For more than 10 years I have represented the state as a commissioner to the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission and have had the privilege of also serving as its chairman."
Flannery said the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission has the responsibility for regulating the water quality of the Ohio River.
Flannery also serves on the Board of Directors of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce and has also served as its chairman.
"For decades the Chamber has been a consistent voice for a strong West Virginia economy, while also protecting and enhancing the environment, which contributes so much to the tourism industry and our overall quality of life," Flannery said.
Flannery studied engineering at West Virginia University and was always intrigued by environmental policy.
"It was a lawyer friend of my family that was the first person to suggest that the law might provide an ideal career path for me," he said. "Since that time, I have had the privilege of practicing law with some of the best lawyers in the world."
Flanner said right now it is an extraordinary time for developments in energy and environmental policy in West Virginia and the nation.
"I am convinced that West Virginia will continue to be a leader in the nation, not only in energy, chemicals and manufacturing, but also in preserving and enhancing the quality of life that makes the state such a great place to live and work," Flanner said. "With thanks to wonderful clients, I enjoy the privilege of being a part of that dialogue."
Secretary Steven Chu said he was appointing Flannery to represent the viewpoint of law firms with energy and environmental regulatory practice to ensure their viewpoint is clearly articulated in the committee discussions.