The Arizona Chapter of the American Institute of Professional Geologists held their annual business meeting in Tucson this morning, with most of the Board of Directors of the national AIPG in attendance. Much of the discussion centered around the proposed legislation to eliminate geologists as a registered profession in Arizona (HB2613). Representatives from other professional associations, industry, and the Association of State Boards of Geology were also present.
Arizona was the first state in the country to provide registration of geologists, starting in 1956. Now 32 states offer registration. Proponents of de-registration argue that Arizona is over regulated and eliminating registration for geologists, landscape architects, assayers, and cremationists, is the first step towards eliminating most professional registrations. [Right, geologists examine an earth fissure found during construction of loop 202 in the eastern Phoenix valley. A special flexible liner was laid under the roadway to prevent it from buckling]
The ASBOG folks reported similar efforts to eliminate registration geologists have been proposed in other states over the past decade but all failed after the legislatures reviewed the life-safety implications.
The local geological community is organizing to oppose HB2613, with AIPG offering to play a coordinating role.
A number of people pointed out that numerous state and local agencies require licensed geologists to sign off on technical reports. With Arizona licensing revoked, other professionals such as engineers would be asked to sign such reports. But if they do not have the technical expertise in that area, they could be held liable for subsequent problems. Or geologists licensed in other states could come in to replace Arizona geologists in order to sign professional reports.