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With GOP Flip, W.Va. Coalfields Initiative On Hold

West Virginia Legislature

  As the state Senate shifts Republican, a Democratic senator says an initiative to revitalize West Virginia's struggling southern coalfields is on hold.

Sen. Mike Green says the fate of the Southern Coalfields Organizing and Revitalizing the Economy initiative, or SCORE, is up to Senate Republicans. The Raleigh County Democrat is SCORE's co-chairman. He lost re-election last week as Republicans took the majority.

Democratic Senate President Jeff Kessler assembled SCORE, which held one listening tour stop in Beckley last month. Green says additional hearings are on hold.

The 13-member panel aimed to recommend diversification ideas before the January legislative session.

Early concepts ranged from more tourism advertising, education and workforce retraining, to intermodal transportation and coal bed methane development.

Senate Republican leader Bill Cole didn't immediately return a telephone message Tuesday.

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