The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) has been doing research on coal quality for almost a century. Most of the work of the USGS regarding coal went into efforts to assess the quantity of coal in the United States, not the quality. On April 9-11, 1985, the U. S. Geological Survey, along with cosponsors - the Association of American State Geologists, the U. S. Department of Energy, the Electric Power Research Institute, and the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency - convened a symposium on coal quality at the headquarters of the USGS in Reston, Virginia. The coal-quality symposium provided a forum for the discussion of a wide variety of topics with regard to coal-quality research and related activities. The coal community took advantage of that opportunity to recommend a large agenda of coal-research needs, not only for the USGS but for the entire spectrum of organizations that either actively pursue or fund research on coal quality.