FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact David Applegate: (703) 379-2480
March 12, 1996 E-mail: govt@agiweb.org

AGI Urges Legislators to Fund USGS, DOE Programs Authorize Minerals Management Service

ALEXANDRIA, VA.--In appearances before two House subcommittees on March 7, Dr. Marcus E. Milling, executive director of the American Geological Institute (AGI), and Dr. Robert R. Jordan, state geologist of Delaware and a member of AGI, urged legislators to support earth-science programs of the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of Energy, and Minerals Management Service.
Speaking on behalf of AGI's 29 member societies and the 80,000 earth scientists they represent, Milling told the House Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies that the national need for a federal role in the geosciences is increasing and will continue to require an integrated national effort. The hearing was an opportunity for outside witnesses to testify in support of fiscal year 1997 funding for agencies within the subcommittee's jurisdiction.
"The central mission of the U.S. Geological Survey is to provide reliable, objective earth-science data and analysis of hazards, resources, and the environment from a national perspective," Milling told chairman Ralph Regula (R-Ohio) and subcommittee members. "Virtually every American citizen and every federal, state, and local agency benefits either directly or indirectly from USGS products and services."
Milling urged the subcommittee to fund the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Act, particularly the external StateMap and EdMap components that are matched by state and university dollars. At a time when the U.S. Geological Survey is adapting to changing national priorities and assuming programs once managed by the National Biological Service and U.S. Bureau of Mines, fiscal support from Capitol Hill is essential to enable the agency to meet these new challenges, he said.
Milling also expressed the Institute's support for the Department of Energy's Fossil Energy R&D program, which is making significant contributions to finding new technologies required for cost-effective, efficient development of U.S. oil and gas resources. "We particularly urge that funding be maintained for the Computational Technology Forum, National Geoscience Data Repository System, technology transfer programs, and functions moved to DOE from the U.S. Bureau of Mines," said Milling.
At a separate hearing before the Energy and Mineral Resources subcommittee of the House Committee on Resources, Robert Jordan expressed support for H.R. 1813, legislation that would provide permanent authorization for the Minerals Management Service (MMS). The MMS was created by the Secretary of the Interior in 1982, but it was never formally authorized by Congress, which has nonetheless provided annual appropriations for the agency. By finally providing statutory authority, H.R. 1813 would provide stronger guarantees that the agency could continue to function effectively.
Speaking on behalf of the American Geological Institute, the Association of American State Geologists (an AGI member society), and the Outer Continental Shelf Policy Committee of the Department of the Interior (where he represents the state of Delaware), Jordan praised the 13-year record of the Minerals Management Service. "Exploration and development of resources from the Outer Continental Shelf requires many years for each project," Jordan told the legislators. "Environmental Impact Statements, Five-Year Plans, and leasing procedures involve years of effort and commitment. Vast sums of money and major resources and risks are involved. Stability of structure and procedure are essential."
The complete statements of Milling and Jordan are available from Dr. David Applegate, director of AGI's Government Affairs Program, or by accessing the Institute's World Wide Web site: http://www.agiweb.org/agi.html.

The American Geological Institute is a nonprofit federation of 29 geoscientific and professional associations. In addition, 115 colleges and universities are AGI Academic Associates, and 30 private companies are AGI Corporate Members. 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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