08.17.17

Capito and Manchin Applaud DOE Investment in WVU Research Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today announced that West Virginia University (WVU) Research Corporation was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to move on to a second phase of research for the “Recovery of Rare Earth Elements (REEs) from Coal Mine Drainage” project.

This news comes after Senator Capito wrote a letter of support for WVU urging Energy Secretary Rick Perry to support the second phase of their research by awarding this grant. In her letter, Senator Capito outlined the scientific advancements and other benefits that would result from WVU’s research for not just West Virginia, but also the entire nation. View the letter here.

DOE is investing a total of $17.4 million in four projects that aim to develop and test rare earth elements (REE) recovery systems. WVU’s project, which will receive $2.66 million in support, uses acid mine drainage solids as a feedstock for recovery of REEs and other useful materials.

“West Virginia University continues to lead the way with innovative developments made possible by their research programs,” Senator Capito said. “Finding a domestic source of rare earth elements would positively impact our national security, economic development activities, and provide additional revenue for the coal industry. I am thrilled Secretary Perry has accepted my request to support WVU’s research efforts and I look forward to seeing how their results benefit the Mountain State, as well as the entire nation.”

“As use of technology continues to grow, it’s crucial we work to meet the demand for producing future innovations,” Senator Manchin said. “China’s monopoly on the materials we use to build many of our consumer products, not to mention our missile defense system, poses a national security threat that must be addressed.  West Virginia is in the unique position to help re-establish our domestic supply of rare earth elements needed to manufacture products we use every day. I am excited to see the Department of Energy invest in West Virginia so that we may recover these REEs safe and efficiently.” 

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