INDIANAPOLIS — A newly organized trade association for the coal industry will be led by a former northeastern Indiana state representative.

Matt Bell, formerly of Avilla and the former state representative for District 82 in northeastern Indiana, has been named the chief executive officer of Reliable Energy Inc., which was formed by representatives of Alliance Coal and Hallador Energy to promote the interests of the coal industry and its supporting businesses.

Bell moved from northeastern Indiana and eventually founded Catalyst Public Affairs Group with Anthony Mitson in 2013 in Indianapolis. Catalyst Public Affairs Group is an advocacy and public affairs firm focused on connecting its clients to decision makers at the local, state and national level.

Mitson has been named Reliable Energy Inc.’s chief operating officer.

“The Indiana coal industry supports more than 2,500 jobs and adds more than $750 million to the Indiana economy every year,” Heath Lovell, vice president of public affairs for Alliance Coal said. “Reliable Energy Inc. will serve as our industry’s chief advocate in regulatory and legislative matters that impact Indiana’s energy sector.

“Reliable, low-cost energy is a key factor in Indiana’s national manufacturing prominence. Indiana’s manufacturing sector accounts for more than 27% of Indiana’s economic output and employs more than half a million Hoosiers. The fact that 53% of Indiana’s energy is produced from coal has enabled Indiana’s energy rates to remain cost competitive which has allowed Hoosier manufacturers to thrive,” said Lovell.

“We are excited to continue our advocacy for the coal industry as the leadership team of Reliable Energy Inc.,” Bell said. “Coal is a critical part of Indiana’s energy resource mix today, and we look forward to working with a growing number of industry partners and association members to advocate for reliable, affordable and clean coal technologies that can power Indiana’s economy in the years and decades ahead.”

“Coal plays a critical role in providing the reliable and affordable energy that Indiana’s economy depends on to remain competitive in a global marketplace,” Mitson said. “Matt and I are honored to lead Reliable Energy Inc. and we are committed to making it the industry’s premier trade association.”

“Our industry is the ‘safety net’ that keeps the lights on in Indiana, Reliable Power is an organization dedicated to insuring the ‘safety net’ stays in place for the benefit of all Hoosiers,” Brent Bilsland, CEO of Hallador Energy, said. “We have charged the leadership of Reliable Energy Inc. with building a world class trade association that represents the reliability and affordability of Indiana’s electric supply effectively and with the highest standards of integrity. We are excited about the work that Matt, Tony and their Catalyst team will do on behalf of the men and women who work in our industry, the local economies we support and the affordable, clean and readily available energy we provide to Hoosier homes and businesses.”

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