The growing energy industry has lead to the launch of a new initiative at West Liberty University.

On Tuesday, West Liberty President Rob Capehart announced the creation of the Institute for Energy and Commerce.  The West Liberty University Research Corporation will run it.

“Since West Liberty, I do believe, is strategically located in the middle of the rapidly growing energy industry in this country, it will be a perfect location to conduct research and do forums and engage, not just the industry, but people from all stripes in regard to issues surrounding the energy industry,” Capehart said.

Institute research will focus on the issues facing the gas drilling and coal mining industries.

At the same time, an industry council will be formed to help West Liberty decide what academic training will be needed in the future to serve those in coal and gas.

“People in the industry know what they need,” Capehart said on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

Michael J. Hicks, an economics professor at Ball State University, will serve as visiting scholar and distinguished research fellow at West Liberty’s Institute for Energy and Commerce.

West Virginia Coal Association Vice President Chris Hamilton will be the Institute’s Industry Council Chairman.

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