Monday, January 21, 2013

Legislation we're following

The Arizona Legislature enters its second week with a growing slate of bills introduced.  In addition to SB1017, which requires AZGS to establish a mining and mineral museum, we are watching HB2443 which amends the statute on local government planning requirements for aggregate resources, and HCM2003, a resolution calling on the U.S. congress to adopt the land exchange needed for the Resolution copper project mine to move forward.  HB2394 provides a technical correction to the appointment dates of Oil and Gas Commissioners.

HB2443 adds specific reference to identify AZGS, State Mine Inspector, and State Land Dept. as sources of maps needed by local planners to identify aggregate resources.   Legislation two years ago (SB1598) set up the planning requirement with the assumption that existing maps would serve the purpose.  However, it was quickly discovered that local governments do not have the expertise to convert general geologic maps into something that delineates viable aggregate deposits.  As mapmakers, AZGS was upfront in stating that our map units do not automatically translate into resource categories.  The new bill does not provide any resources to carry out the development or conversion of maps for planning purposes; it just confirms which agencies are expected to take on this added duty.

As a result of the original legislation, we are carrying out a test project to convert existing maps in the Phoenix valley to better delineate aggregates from standard geologic units and lithologies.  This was a top priority recommended by our Geologic Mapping Advisory Council and the USGS is providing matching funds for this under the StateMap component of the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program.  [Right, map of the Phoenix metropolitan area showing location of 30' x 60' Quadrangles being mapped. Geology from Richard et al. (2000)]

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