Education, energy and the economy.
Those topics were discussed by Ravenswood High School students and Senator Joe Manchin Thursday.
The senator told the students all options - including West Virginia coal - should be on the table in a discussion of the nation's energy future.
One student asked if, in the wake of the Charleston area chemical spill, there would be safeguards in place for the planned ethane "cracker" to be built in Wood County.
Manchin provided some perspective on the age of the plant where the Charleston leak happened.
"In building a new plant like the cracker, all this will be in consideration. If it can't be built for the worst disaster that can happen, and we can't contain it, it shouldn't be built. But it will be, because we'll be able to plan that into it," Manchin said.
Manchin told the students that, while a lot of high-paying jobs have left the area, others, ranging from the cracker to the planned carbonyx plant just outside Ravenswood, provide new opportunities for the next generation.
He asked the students how many planned to stay in West Virginia after graduation.
Not many raised their hands.
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