Millennium Leaders visit WVU, focus on state's fossil fuel industry

By Carrie Salls | Jul 7, 2017

MORGANTOWN – In June, West Virginia University’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development brought the Atlantic Council’s Millennium Leaders program to the university.

MORGANTOWN – In June, West Virginia University’s Center for Energy and Sustainable Development brought the Atlantic Council’s Millennium Leaders program to the university.

According to a WVU Law news release, the Millennium Leaders include "government officials from Portugal, Taiwan, Ukraine and California; executives from Uber, PayPal and the World Resources Institute; a faculty member from American University in Beirut; an IBM research scientist; a U.S. diplomat; a former White House staffer; an international finance and investment advisor; a World Wildlife Fund director; energy data and security technology entrepreneurs; and international journalists."

“The visit of the Millennium Leadership Fellows to West Virginia provided an opportunity to acquaint the leaders of tomorrow with the issues facing West Virginia and the capabilities of WVU and the state to address those issues,” WVU Law Professor James Van Nostrand told The West Virginia Record.

While in Morgantown, Van Nostrand said the group focused on West Virginia’s fossil fuel industry, taking tours of an active hydraulic fracturing operation at Northeast Energy’s natural gas wellpad near Blacksville, as well as the coal-fired power plant at the Longview Power facility just north of Morgantown.

“Other aspects of the program examined the challenges of balancing environmental protection with the demands of the state’s extraction industry and the opportunities for developing renewable resources within the state,” Van Nostrand said.

Van Nostrand said the university provost’s participation in the program “confirms the strategic importance attached to the opportunity presented by our ability to host the program.”

“Hosting the program provides considerable exposure to a prominent and influential organization - the Atlantic Council - of the resources and program offerings available at WVU, which raises the profile of the university,” Van Nostrand said.

The program at WVU included talks from law school Dean Gregory Bowman and environmental and energy experts Evan Hansen of Downstream Strategies and Karan Ireland of WV SUN, according to the school’s release. The group was also scheduled to meet with WVU Provost Joyce McConnell and geology professor Tim Carr.

“Organized by The Atlantic Council, the Millennium Leaders Program provides exceptional leaders aged 35 and under with unique opportunities to build a global network, engage directly with world leaders, develop key professional skills and collaborate to have a global impact,” the release said.

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