American Geological Institute

Government Affairs Program Update

September 1996

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 we serve. If you received this update by fax and would like to receive future ones by e-mail (the preferred method from our perspective), please send a note to, and we will put you on the list.

With only hours to spare before the beginning of the new fiscal year, Congress passed its six remaining appropriations bills as an omnibus package and sent it to President Clinton for his signature. Having avoided a politically unpalatable government shutdown, the Hill leadership draws the second session of the 104th Congress to a close, allowing the members to hurry home for a frantic final month of campaigning before the November elections. In the final days, lawmakers in both parties were desperately trying to get their own pieces of legislation through before the slate was wiped clean for the next Congress. As a result, the progress of many non-controversial bills was blocked as senators (usually) held them hostage with their own bill's passage as ransom. The reauthorization of the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Act was one such bill, passage of which is still uncertain -- it has been held hostage while a compromise was sought on a separate, large package of public lands bills. The Senate remains in session until mid-week, and committee staff are still hopeful.

Next GAP Advisory Committee Meeting (October 29th)
Just as a reminder to committee members, the next meeting of the GAP Advisory Committee will take place at the GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado on Tuesday, October 29th. The meeting starts at 8 a.m. in the Silverheels Room of the Marriott City Center hotel. Continental breakfast should be available beforehand. The meeting is open to any and all who are interested in the program's activities. One of the topics for discussion will be ways to improve outreach to the member societies' memberships. GAP staff will also be meeting with the executive committees of a number of the member societies, including GSA, MSA, SEPM, and tentatively the Society of Economic Geologists. We would welcome the opportunity to meet with others as well!

New Web Site and E-Mail Addresses
Last month's update announced the new address for AGI's World Wide Web home page . This month, we are announcing a new e-mail address for the program to match: . Both the old home page address and e-mail address will continue to work. Dave Applegate and John Dragonetti also have new individual addresses. These addresses reflect a new system that brings e-mail messages directly to AGI without the need for a phone call to the University of Maryland's server, a bit of progress that should improve our response time.

Updates on Congressional Action Alerts
Since this summer, we have been posting "Congressional Action Alerts" on AGI's home page in order to rally support for geoscience-related issues being acted on by Congress. Three alerts were issued: the first on DOE funding of the National Geoscience Data Repository System (NGDRS), the second on the Eisenhower programs that support professional development activities for science and math teachers, and the third on funding for the National Science Foundation and NASA's Mission to Planet Earth. Many thanks to those of you who have written letters and made contacts on behalf of these issues. All of these measures have been rolled into the omnibus appropriations package just passed by Congress -- although details are sketchy, all appear to have gone our way. We are actively looking for ways to improve dissemination of these alerts to the membership of AGI's member societies.

Interest in Data Preservation Workshop
The press release issued for the Washington workshop on geoscience data preservation held this July has resulted in a number of contacts from the media, including the Natural Gas Daily's NG magazine and GIS World. The October "Political Scene" column in Geotimes focuses on the workshop as well. As a result of the workshop, the academic seismic community discussed their interest in seeing industry seismic preserved as part of a conference held this month in California. AGI is working with DOE to promote the National Geoscience Data Repository System (NGDRS) as a positive step in support of domestic production of oil and gas resources and reduction of our dependence on foreign oil by preserving the information database on which future production will depend. GAP has received several calls from the Hill in response to constituent letters urging support for the data repository system effort. Also this month, AGI submitted its proposal to DOE for Phase III of the National Geoscience Data Repository System, tapping into the FY 1996 funds for this purpose within the Fossil Energy R&D program.

Tentative Schedule of Upcoming GAP Activities
GAP staff will be attending and/or giving presentations at the following meetings in October. One item of particular note: on October 13th, our very own John Dragonetti is receiving the I.C. White Memorial Award at the AAPG Eastern Section Annual Meeting. Congratulations!

Oct. 2		AGU Committee on Public Affairs Meeting		Washington DC
Oct. 4		AAPG/DPA Government Affairs Forum		San Antonio TX
Oct. 9-12	AIPG Annual Meeting				Columbus OH
Oct. 13		AAPG Eastern Section Annual Meeting		Charlestown WV
Oct. 22		Meeting of Earth and Space Societies		Washington DC
Oct. 24		Seminar on USGS/NBS Merger			Reston VA
Oct. 26-31	GSA Annual Meeting				Denver CO
Oct. 29		GAP Advisory Committee meeting			Denver CO

(Contributed by David Applegate, AGI Government Affairs)

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Uploaded November 6, 1996 (Created 9-30-96)

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