Aug. 30, 2023

HARRISBURG – Energy independence is a goal worth pursuing, according to House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Joshua D. Kail (R-Beaver/Washington). His concern is how badly our state and country want to achieve that goal.

“We find out child labor is being employed to dig cobalt in the Congo, and then federal regulators shut down an attempt to open a mine in Minnesota…you’d think we’d be doing everything we can to open mines across the United States,” Kail said at a recent committee hearing in Clearfield County. “As much money as the federal government is dumping into this for Chinese-produced energy, and we can’t do it here in Pennsylvania to generate jobs? It’s a travesty.”

Kail’s remarks were made during a public discussion hosted by state Reps. Mike Armanini (R-Clearfield/Elk) and Dallas Kephart (R-Clearfield/Cambria) at the Rivers Landing and Event Center in Clearfield. The hearing’s focus was rare-earth elements (REEs), minerals which are used in a variety of industrial applications, including electronics, clean energy, aerospace, and defense.

“In addition to Africa, China has large deposits of these minerals and the manufacturing capability to process them for use in things like cell phones and automobiles,” said Kephart. “We appear to be quite content to allow this to happen, while Penn State University has the capability in their lab to pull REEs from acid mine drainage. We are missing an opportunity to not only address an environmental concern but decrease if not end our dependence on a foreign power.”

“We have the resources to do this, but apparently not the will to do the work it would take to chase the goal of energy independence,” Armanini added. “Discussions like this are a good start, but are we training the scientists who will do the research? Do we have young people who are interested in being those scientists and political leaders who will promote cutting ties with China in favor of being self-sufficient? It will take a different mindset than what we have right now.”

Representative Michael Armanini
75th Legislative District
Representative Dallas Kephart
73rd Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Scott Little