FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT David Applegate: (703) 379-2480
May 15, 1996 E-mail: govt@agiweb.org

AGI Testifies for Geologic Mapping and Natl. Science Foundation

ALEXANDRIA, VA. -- The American Geological Institute (AGI) voiced its support for geologic mapping and fundamental geoscience research at two hearings held recently on Capitol Hill. Appearing before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, AGI President Robert D. Hatcher Jr. urged Congress to support legislation (H.R. 3198) that would reauthorize the National Geologic Mapping Act of 1992. Last Friday, May 10, AGI Director of Government Affairs David Applegate urged the House Appropriations Subcommittee on VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies to support the fiscal year 1997 budget request of the National Science Foundation (NSF). Congressional support, they told the legislators, allows geologists and non-geologists alike to work as partners -- seeking the wisest use of America's natural resources or fighting the devastating effects of floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, and other natural hazards.
Dr. Hatcher, who has spent much of his career mapping the Appalachians, told the subcommittee that geologic maps provide geoscientists with the fundamental data necessary to understand Earth's surface and its underlying architecture.
H.R. 3198, introduced by subcommittee chairman Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), would fund the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program of the U.S. Geological Survey through 2000 and would change the funding structure to increase support for partnerships with the state geological surveys and with universities. It has strong bipartisan support in Congress. At the hearing, Calvert stated that this is the first bill to be considered by his subcommittee during the 104th Congress with administration support from the outset. Hatcher is UT/ORNL Distinguished Scientist and Professor of Geology at the University of Tennessee (Knoxville) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is a member of the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Advisory Committee.
Speaking in favor of EdMap, which matches federal and university dollars to support mapping projects by graduate students and faculty, Hatcher stated that this particular component "is the smallest part of the overall program ... but has the potential to deliver the greatest long-term benefit, providing valuable experience and training for the next generation of field-oriented geoscientists."
Dr. Applegate's testimony focused on earthquakes and other natural hazards as examples of national problems that require the fundamental geoscience research that is supported by NSF's Directorate on Geosciences. "The federal government and the nation clearly have a stake in maintaining the health of the basic science on which applications and policy decisions ultimately must be based," he said. Applegate noted that he had spent several years involved in NSF-supported research in the Death Valley region, which is in the district of Subcommittee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.). In response, Lewis stated that he had recently had his home computer hooked up to earthquake monitoring information for California, and he voiced particular concern for the western parts of his district, located near the San Andreas Fault.
The appearances of Hatcher and Applegate before these subcommittee are part of AGI's continuing efforts to ensure that the geoscience community is heard on Capitol Hill. Complete texts of all AGI testimony is available on the Institute's World Wide Web home page, http://www.agiweb.org/agi.html, in the Government Affairs section.

The American Geological Institute is a nonprofit federation of 29 geoscientific and professional associations that represent more than 80,000 geologists, geophysicists, and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the earth-science profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in mankind's use of resources and interaction with the environment.

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