Monday, February 19, 2007

AIPG meeting offers snapshot of Arizona geosciences

For the 12th year in a row, AZGS recently hosted the Arizona Section of the American Institute of Professional Geologists and the AIPG’s national Board of Directors. The program included brief presentations from most of the other geoscience organizations in the state and is becoming a platform to see what is happening across the profession in Arizona and a forum for discussion of partnerships and collaboration among the professional societies.

(AIPG President Kelvin Buchanan , President-elect Dan St. Germain, and Bill Siok, AIPG Executive Director at AZGS)

AIPG is also organizing the 3rd International Professional Geology conference for 2008 to be held in Flagstaff
and has a strong local organizing committee working with them.

A few notes from the meeting include:

Mike Geddis, a Board member of the Arizona Hydrologic Society, noted they have hired an association manager to better handle the 340 members in three chapters (Flagstaff, Phoenix, and Tucson) and two annual symposia.

Wes Ward, Western Regional Geologist with the USGS, headquartered in Tucson, reported that the draft 10-year plan focuses on

  • Energy and minerals
  • Hazards
  • Human health
  • Climate change
  • National water census

The USGS Minerals program is slated for nearly a 50% budget cut by Congress, from $57M to $27M. [note: Kate Johnson, Program Coordinator for the USGS Mineral Resources Program (MRP), provided updated numbers for me. The FY2007 budget for the MRP is $53.2M with the Administration proposing a reduction of $23.3 or about 44%, to $29.9M. In the past, Congress has restored cuts to MRP that were proposed by the Administration but there is no assurance that will happen this year. Kate invites anyone with questions or comments to contact her at 703-648-6110 or The MRP website is at]

Joe Hart, the newly elected State Mining Inspector, talked about the challenges of trying to close up the 10,000+ abandoned mines in Arizona, 89% of which are vertical. The Legislature seems favorable to adding money to his budget to match with industry money to expedite the process. Joe also is considering using prisoners to help fill and reclaim abandoned mines.

Dale Nations, chair of the Arizona Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, said that Arizona produced 55K barrels of oil last year along with 600 million cubic feet (MMCF) of natural gas from 20 wells.

Dr. Terry West, a professor of civil and environmental engineering from Purdue, and current national president of the Association of Engineering an Environmental Geology (AEG) tag teamed with Jessica Humble, president of the Phoenix chapter of AEG to talk about the rapid growth of the organization. The Phoenix chapter is only two years old with an active speakers program.

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