American Geological Institute

Government Affairs Program Update

July 1996

One of the action items from the March and May advisory committee meetings was to improve communications between GAP and its advisory committee. With the help of the GAP summer interns, I have collected additional e-mail addresses in order to make updates such as this one much easier to distribute. They also have been updating the information on our Web page, and we have added a new section entitled "Congressional Alerts" (discussed below). The AGI site as a whole has received a major facelift in the past two weeks thanks to the labors of our Web intern, Eric Rutherford, and I encourage you to visit us at

Thanks to a generous matching grant from the AIPG Foundation, we have two summer interns helping out this summer. Heidi Mohlman just graduated in geology from Amherst College, and Rene Cortez will be a senior geological engineering major at the University of Wisconsin at Madison next fall. They were our top two candidates from a very strong field of 40 candidates. In addition to their work on the Web site, they have been attending congressional hearings, undertaking background research into a variety of issues, responding to member society requests for information, and generally extending the reach of GAP.

The first "Congressional Alert" was put out in late June in order to rally support for DOE funding of the National Geoscience Data Repository System (NGDRS). Many thanks to those of you who have written letters and made contacts -- we have developed some strong supporters in the Senate, and the prospects are good for a restoration of funds taken away by the House. The "Alert" is up on our home page, and I would be happy to pass it along to anyone who did not receive one and would like to be involved.

To update you on the situation, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies is meeting today to mark up their version of the bill containing DOE Fossil Energy R&D. Subcommittee Chairman Slade Gorton (R-WA) has prepared a Chairman's Mark as the starting point for deliberations, and it contains qualified good news. The Mark provides an additional $5.6 million over the House allocation for the Oil Technology Exploration and Production Supporting Research account within which is the Reservoir Characterization sub-account containing the NGDRS funding. The House cut $8 million from the President's request of $34.0 million for the E&P Supporting Research account, including the $2 million cut to Reservoir Characterization. The Chairman's Mark, which does not provide subaccount numbers, provides $31.6 million for this account.

Following today's subcommittee mark-up, the full Senate Appropriations committee will mark up the bill early next week. No date has been set for floor action or for the ensuing House-Senate conference. I will provide additional information as it becomes available.

AGI is convening a workshop at the end of July to develop position statements on geoscience data preservation and to build support for geoscience data preservation efforts, including the NGDRS, in federal agencies and on Capitol Hill. The workshop will focus on industry data, fossil collections, and the continued availability of topographic maps.

AGI released a second "Congressional Alert" earlier this week, encouraging geoscientists to contact Congress and express support for two programs that support science and math education. The Eisenhower Professional Development Program and the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse both provide teachers with the resources necessary to enhance their curricula and improve their teaching skills. The House recently eliminated these programs, shifting funds for the EPDP to another account in the Department of Education that is used to fund school administration and state departments of education instead of solely educators. Contact AGI intern Heidi Mohlman (703-379-2480; if you would like a copy of the alert. It is also available from the AGI Web site.

In June, AGI released the final report from the February workshop on the merger of the National Biological Service into the U.S. Geological Survey. The purpose of the workshop was to provide Congress and the Interior Department with input from the affected geoscience and bioscience communities. If you would like copies of the report, I would be happy to provide you with one. It is also available on the GAP home page.

(Contributed by David Applegate, AGI Government Affairs)

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

Uploaded November 6, 1996

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