- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

PRINCETON, W.Va. (AP) - A state Senate panel seeking to revitalize the struggling southern coalfields will meet this week in Princeton.

The group’s third listening tour stop is set for Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Fred Gilbert Activity Center in Mercer County.

The Southern Coalfields Organizing and Revitalizing the Economy initiative, or SCORE, aims to diversify southern West Virginia. The panel plans to make recommendations before the January legislative session.

Democratic Senate President Jeff Kessler’s 13-member task force will look at various ways to boost the coalfields.

Some include increasing tourism advertising, education and workforce development and retraining, redevelopment projects, agribusiness and rural development, better broadband Internet, expanded intermodal transportation, development of coalbed methane, and clean coal research and development.

Democrats will yield control of both legislative chambers to Republicans in January.

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