American Geological Institute

Government Affairs Program UPDATE


March 1997


This monthly update goes out to members of the AGI Government Affairs Program (GAP) Advisory Committee as well as the leadership of AGI's member societies and other interested geoscientists as part of a continuing effort to improve communications between GAP and the geoscience community that it serves.

AGI Testimony On Appropriations for USGS, DOE
On March 5th, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies heard testimony from public witnesses on programs within its jurisdiction. AGI Government Affairs Director David Applegate testified in support of funding for both the U.S. Geological Survey and the Department of Energy Fossil Energy R&D program. Concern was raised over cuts to several Survey programs, especially the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program, and the extensive reprogramming of funds within the Water Resources Division in order to accommodate the President's Kalamazoo initiative. The testimony can be viewed at this site.

Additional Societies Sign On To Letter Urging Research Funding Increases
The last update reported on a press conference held March 4th announcing the release of a letter from scientific society presidents to Congress and the Administration that called on them to "renew the nation's historical commitment to scientific research and education." The letter urged a 7 percent increase in research budgets for federal science agencies. One society president referred to the effort as the "million and a half scientist march" in reference to the number of scientists belonging to the societies represented in the letter. AGI President Ed Roy signed the letter as did the presidents of the American Geophysical Union, American Institute of Professional Geologists, and Geological Society of America. Since the initial press conference, the geoscience presence was further augmented by the addition of several more geoscience society presidents, including those from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Society of Exploration Geophysicists, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, and the Soil Science Society of America. The letter with all signatures is being distributed on Capitol Hill and to the White House. In April, AGI will be participating in several more science community-wide efforts to raise congressional awareness of the value of science research and education. These activities include a science and technology congressional visits day and an exhibit of NSF-sponsored research in the geosciences.

Special Geotimes Issue on Geology and Politics
Hot off the presses, the April issue of Geotimes focuses on the role of government in the geosciences. The issue features a Comment on President Clinton's environment and natural resources science policy by NOAA Administrator James Baker, articles on the funding squeeze for basic research, the future of the USGS mapping program, and a justification of energy research at DOE. The issue also contains an interview with Rep. Jim Gibbons (R-NV), who is the first geoscientist to serve in Congress in fourteen years.

AGI Presentations
March provided several opportunities for GAP staff to get outside the Beltway and discuss policy issues of interest to the geoscience community. In March, Applegate spoke at the University of Delaware on land-use issues, the University of Oklahoma on redefining the role of government in the geosciences, and at the GSA Southeastern section meeting as part of a symposium on geoscience input into environmental policy-making. In April, Applegate will participate in a forum organized by the AAPG Division of Professional Affairs, and Dragonetti will speak to the AIPG Kentucky section's annual meeting. We appreciate these offers and welcome additional opportunities to speak.

New Material on Web Site
GAP has accelerated its efforts to keep the community informed of events in Washington with a number of new reports available on this web site. We also released two Action Alerts, one to rally Senate support for the National Geologic Mapping Reauthorization Act of 1997 and the other to solicit volunteers for the Congressional Science & Technology Visits Day. Reports are available on the USGS Topographic Map Users Workshop, President's Council of Advisors on Science & Technology meeting, and hearings on appropriations for DOE's nuclear waste and cleanup programs, NASA's Mission to Planet Earth, the USGS and DOE's Fossil Energy program, and a hearing on proposed EPA regulations under the Clean Air Act. Please contact us if you would like additional material on any of these events or issues.

Tentative Schedule of Upcoming GAP Activities

	April 3-4	GSA Geology & Public Policy Cmte. Mtg.	Washington DC
	April 6-9	AAPG Annual Convention			Dallas TX
	  April 8	  AAPG Govt. Affairs Cmte. Forum		"              "
	  April 9	  GAP Advisory Committee Meeting		"              "
	April 16-17	Congressional Science & Tech. Visits		Washington DC
	April 18	AIPG Kentucky Section (Dragonetti)  	Lexington KY
	April 23-24	AAAS Science & Technology Colloquium	Washington DC
	April 30	CNSF Congressional Exhibition		Washington DC

Committee Meeting Schedule
The next GAP Advisory Committee meeting will be at the AAPG Annual Convention in Dallas at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 9th in the Cottonbowl Room of the Hyatt Reunion hotel.


(Contributed by David Applegate, AGI Government Affairs)

Please send any comments or requests for information to AGI Government Affairs Program at govt@agiweb.org.

Uploaded April 7, 1997

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