Package of bills in Harrisburg could spur growth, reclamation of former industrial sites

23 April 2024- Today, six Republican state representatives introduced a package of bills that would lay the groundwork to recover Earth’s critical elements from former industrial sites in Pennsylvania, creating family-sustaining jobs, securing domestic access to critical industrial inputs and remediating past environmental degradation. 

Sponsors with corresponding bill descriptions are as follows:

  • Rep. Mike Armanini (R-Clearfield/Elk): Updates the commonwealth’s tax structure to reflect the economic realities of the reclamation of Earth’s critical elements.
  • Rep. Brian Smith (R-Jefferson/Indiana): Extends reasonable protections to owners of real property with mine waste and other legacy industrial byproducts that are used to reclaim Earth’s critical elements.
  • Rep. Jonathan Fritz (R-Susquehanna/Wayne): Establishes an experimental permit program for new technologies to reclaim Earth’s critical elements from Pennsylvania’s former industrial sites.
  • Rep. David Rowe (R-Snyder/Union/Mifflin/Juniata): Prevents taxpayer money from being used to purchase electric vehicles using components produced with forced labor.
  • Rep. Kristin Marcell (R-Bucks): Leverages existing industrial site reuse programs for responsible reclamation of Earth’s critical elements.
  • Rep. Jamie Barton (R-Berks/Schuylkill): Leverages the Energy Development Authority to provide financial assistance necessary to demonstrate the financial viability of reclaiming Pennsylvania’s critical elements.

Earth’s critical elements, such as cobalt, indium, lithium, manganese and zinc, are key components of modern-day technologies we rely on every day, including smartphones, computers, defense systems and automobiles. However, much of the extraction and processing of critical elements occurs in other countries, some of which are not reliable trading partners with our country or use unacceptable refinement methods. The critical element recovery process in Pennsylvania would be fair, safe and would dovetail with the cleanup of former industrial sites, benefiting local communities.

“The reliability of our modern supply chain requires reliable access to Earth’s critical elements from Pennsylvania,” said Armanini. “This package of legislation secures access to Earth’s critical elements via the remnants of Pennsylvania’s industrial heritage. I hope our colleagues recognize the opportunity beneath our feet and support the use of waste products from the Commonwealth’s past to power the next generation of technologies.”