CLEARFIELD COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — The House Republican Policy Committee is bringing light to reclaiming land and the use of rare earth minerals to bring jobs and revenue to local economies.
Every day rare earth minerals are used and many times you may not even know it. These are metals that can generate millions of dollars. They’re common in our region, and a common component of the technology we use every day like cell phones, computers and televisions.
“We have a wealth of them in our Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and we are just trying to get the public aware and the administration aware that we need to start exploring,” State Representative Mike Armanini said.
So how do we cash in on this natural resource without harming the environment? That’s what lawmakers are looking to find out.
On Tuesday, Aug. 22, Legislatures heard testimony from educators and manufacturers. Some want to start mining the minerals right away, while others say not so fast.
“What we’re hearing is that Pennsylvania is not a friendly state for this industry to evolve and grow, which is unfortunate because we have some of the greatest deposits throughout the country,” Armanini said.
The hearing brought legislatures from across the Commonwealth to Clearfield. The hearing included testimonies from Dr. Sarma Pisupati, a Professor of Energy & Mineral Engineering and the Director of the Center for Critical Minerals at Penn State. Also Dr. Pete Rozelle, an advisor at Pennsylvania State University’s College of Earth & Mineral Sciences.
“Today was a good step in bringing more attention and bringing other legislators to the area to hear from our experts,” State Representative Dallas Kephart said. “We need to see what needs to be done going forward. I think what we’re going to do now is go to Harrisburg and try to get something done to allow us to develop these critical minerals.”
These critical minerals could rake in some critical cash for rural communities that need it most.
“Additionally, it would be jobs and economic growth, we have these minerals here,” Kephart said. “They’ve been doing testing and we have them. That’s the key part, they’re not just everywhere, but they happen to be in our area.”
Many on the panel said that America depends heavily on China to obtain the minerals needed and that America needs to become independent.
“We have to get away from dependence from China and so forth on this and so many other aspects to keep the United States moving forward,” Armanini said.
Now lawmakers are looking to see if Governor Shapiro will support the move toward mining minerals.
“One of the governor’s main things was to grow Pennsylvania with new industries. Governor, this is a new industry we need your help, we need your support,” Armanini said.
Throughout the hearing State Representative Kerry Benninghoff also noted that more students in schools need to learn about rare earth minerals and many as a result could go to secondary education to learn valuable skills and knowledge about the industry.