Government Affairs Program

AGI Government Affairs Advisory Committee Meeting Report

October 5, 2008
GSA Annual Meeting in Houston TX
Lanier Grand Ballroom H, Hilton Americas Hotel
1:30 pm to 4:00 pm

An agenda with links to background materials accompanies this report.
Download a PDF version of this report.

Mary Lou Zoback, GAPAC Chair
Laurie Scheuing, AWG
Lenny Konikow, IAH
Bill Siok, AIPG
Becky Roland and Skip Watts, AEG
Bill Barkhouse and Leigh House, SEG
Fred Spilhaus, AGU
Jamie Robertson, AASG
Marie Dvorak, GSIS
David Lindbo, SSSA
Eric Riggs, NAGT
Craig Schiffries and David Diodato, GSA
Peter Warwick, TSOP
Dan Smith, AAPG
Blair Jones, CMS
Ahmed Abou-Sayed, ARMA
Peter Scholle, Incoming President of AGI
Tim West, USGS Liaison

*** Action Items for GAPAC members ***
1. Help inform your society, the geoscience community, policymakers and the public about the transition document.
2. Contact Linda Rowan if you would like copies of the transition document to distribute.
3. Send recommendations regarding distribution to Linda Rowan, including names of individuals or groups and other mechanisms for distribution.
4. Send recommendations for experts, references and content of white papers on each critical need to Linda Rowan.
5. Send additional comments about policy-related priorities/activities of your societies.

Feel free to speak with society leadership, committees and/or members to gather additional information related to the questions and objectives of this GAPAC meeting and the GAPAC action items.

*** Additional Action Items for GAP ***

1. Determine unit cost for additional printing of transition document.
2. Set-up success metrics and try to track effectiveness of transition document.

*** Detailed minutes organized by agenda items ***

*** 2. Transition 2008 Document – Plans, distribution and comments
The transition document will be distributed to policymakers, geoscientists and the public through face to face meetings where the print document can be handed out and through electronic distribution of the PDF document and the web site link. The web site link to the PDF document is Please contact Linda Rowan if your society would like copies of the document to distribute.

GAPAC was asked about additional suggestions for distribution of the document. Suggestions included:

The member societies support the document overall. Many positive comments were offered at the meeting and have been received informally.

GAPAC comments about things that might be adjusted, added, enhanced or require clarification through further discussion when the document is distributed include:

There was a comment to consider ways to measure the success of the transition document, so that we could learn from the project and so that future efforts could be even more effective. Efforts will be made to track distribution and track comments/actions related to the document.

*** “Transition materials of member societies”  and “What are some of the critical needs of member societies from new federal leadership?” (3. and 4. combined into one discussion due to time)

Societies and other groups are working on their own transition materials or activities related to new federal leadership. Societies also mentioned issues that their members thought were important and would be working on in 2009.

AAPG-DPA with the AAPG GEO-DC office has plans for preparing transition materials, but the details have not been worked out yet. AAPG may have congressional visits and/or congressional briefings/seminars to explain the geoscience behind issues that are directly relevant to AAPG membership.

USGS has formed a transition team and is working on transition materials. They will focus on 4 critical issues: energy, water, natural hazards and carbon sequestration.

GSIS is concerned about publication and open access, archival of data, lack of management of data and issues related to the teaching of evolution. The GSIS Executive Committee will discuss the AGI transition document and how the society can use the document.

AEG is not planning to develop transition materials but will use the AGI transition document. Issues include accreditation of programs, state licensure of engineering geologists and natural hazards.

AASG has prepared an 8-fold pamphlet based on their position statements. The issues discussed in the pamphlet include energy, environmental affairs, minerals, ground water, hazards, data preservation and geologic mapping.

CMS is not planning to develop transition materials and will use the AGI transition document.

SEG (geophysicists) are concerned about workforce and education. Will also use the AGI transition document.

AWG has a one-pager on women in science and will recommend highly qualified women scientists for presidential leadership positions. Working with AWIS on this.

TSOP is focused on energy, origin of hydrocarbons, carbon capture and storage, carbon dioxide reactions with organic materials (related to CCS), education, workforce and international collaborations. Membership is international and need to pay attention to global issues and collaborations.

ARMA will work with AGI and use the AGI transition document. Also have collaborations with a variety of other groups. Working with Society of Drilling Engineers to organize specialized workshops and reports to the federal government on critical engineering/geoscience issues. They identified environmental exploitation, education, federal R&D and geothermal energy as critical issues. Working with the Society of Petroleum Engineers on “green” operations and also working on a carbon capture and storage committee. Engineers without Borders are working with Egypt and other countries on training engineers and protecting old wells from water infiltration. With regards to international work, the Europeans are planning to spend Euros42 billion on science and technology with part going to energy and infrastructure (part of the FP6 initiative).

IAH is not planning to prepare transition materials but will use the AGI document. There is a UNSECO conference in California in December at which an Irvine Declaration will call for broader recognition of groundwater and hydrological studies.

GSA will be using their position statements as part of their transition to new federal leadership efforts. Some statements are ready and GSA-GPPC is working on other statements. GSA is planning greater international efforts.

NAGT prepared a one-pager for congressional visits, has a new position statement on climate change out for review and is working on an evolution position statement. Society is concerned about how geoscience is being taught and systemic issues related to chaotic standards for K-12 grade level curriculum. NAGT members hope to participate in more AGI-GAP related events.

SSSA has no specific plans for transition materials, but will ramp up normal policy activities once new federal leadership is in place. Concerns include biofuels, soils as a resource, funding for land grant universities (USDA funding in jeopardy), the importance of soil in relation to infrastructure (particularly de-centralized waste water systems).

***5. Wrap-up and next meeting
Linda will send out an email about possible dates for our next meeting. GAPAC will meet in Alexandria VA in March or April 2009. Stay tuned for more details.

Please send any comments or requests for information to AGI Government Affairs Program.

Posted October 8, 2009