Rep. Thompson meets with students to discuss future of mining industry

November 17, 2015

On Nov. 9, 2015, Penn State mining engineering student Sam Baker had a pleasant surprise. After Baker mailed a letter to his local congressman, Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, about the congressman’s efforts to address job security in the mining industry, Thompson visited the University Park campus to answer Baker’s questions in person and meet with a select group of mining engineering student leaders.

The students shared their perspectives on the contrast between the value and practices of today’s modern mining industry and the common misperceptions held by many people whom they encounter. 

“The mining industry is so different now compared to when people mined by hand a century ago,” said Baker. “I had an internship two summers ago in Colorado. The reclaimed mining areas were indistinguishable from the neighboring prairie lands and they were home to many deer, elk and rattlesnakes. There have been so many advances made in the past 100 years to make the industry safe, but it’s my perspective that many people aren’t aware of these advances.”

Jeff Kohler, holder of the George H. Jr. and Anne B. Deike Endowed Chair in Mining Engineering, shared with Thompson about how Penn State’s mining engineering program — one of 14 undergraduate programs in the U.S. — has positively impacted the mining industry. He also discussed how the industry, which mines more than 75 minerals in the U.S. alone, provides positive economic benefits for myriad industries today.

Thompson, who serves on the both the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections (part of the House Education and the Workforce Committee) and the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources (part of the House Natural Resources Committee), voiced his support for the students and for Penn State’s mining engineering program. He also discussed a new piece of legislation he backs, H.R. 3734, or the Mining Schools Enhancement Act.

The legislation, which is currently under review in Congress, would ensure that a portion of the mining research funds allocated to the Office of Surface Mining are used to support undergraduate and graduate research at the accredited mining engineering programs in areas such as extraction and processing systems to reduce the environmental and impacts, environmental remediation,mineral economics, and re-mining systems. He also spoke with students about how he works with governmental organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) on proposed or current legislation.

“I appreciated Congressman Thompson's prompt response and attention to my concerns about the federal government's policies regarding mining, as well as his willingness to visit with the department to explain what he is doing to protect mining jobs and the economy,” said Baker.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated November 18, 2015