College Green

Exploring environmental news in Southeast Ohio

ARC event brings regional leaders to Athens, OU

Posted by collegegreenou on October 27, 2009


Anne Pope, Federal Co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, spoke at the opening ceremony of ARC's annual conference. Photo by Alex Snyder.

By Lisa Gumerman,
CG Lifestyles and People Editor

An evening reception in Ohio University’s Walter Hall marked the opening of the 2009 Appalachian Regional Commission Conference, an event being held through Wednesday to promote awareness of energy issues and the creation of green jobs in Appalachia.

The ARC is a federal-state partnership established in the 1960s by President John F. Kennedy to encourage economic growth in Appalachian states.

Over 350 attendees, ranging from students to entrepreneurs to government officials, will meet in Baker University Center over the next two days to discuss energy efficiency, energy security and the benefits of good energy practices in Appalachia. Visitors will attend lectures and tour the area to learn about energy use and green job opportunities in the region.

“Energy is at the core of [Appalachia’s] economic and environmental health,” Ohio Governor Ted Strickland said during last night’s opening ceremony. Strickland said Appalachia can play a critical role in the future economy by becoming a major producer and supplier of renewable technology.

While environmentally friendly technology is on the conference agenda, the true focus of the event is economic development. Although Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, was not at the opening reception, David Hodapp, Brown’s staff member, said the Senator prioritizes green jobs and hopes the region’s ingenuity will revitalize it. That sentiment was echoed by OU officials who also spoke at the ceremony.

“People in this region have the potential to make profound changes to how we use energy,” said OU Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit.

One goal of the conference is to allow representatives of government and private industries from across the region to meet and learn from one another. Conference events include several panel discussions and speeches from prominent industry leaders. Attendees will also tour clean-energy sites around Athens throughout the event.

The conference will conclude Wednesday with a closing reception in Walter Hall. All conference events are open only to registered attendees.


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