Sunday, September 27, 2009

California abolishes geology board

The president of the California Board for Registration of Geologists and Geophysicists, Richard Blake released this statement:
Recent legislation (Assembly Bill No. 20, 4th Extraordinary Session) will abolish the Board for Geologists and Geophysicists (Board) effective October 23, 2009, at which time all Board Member and Executive Officer positions are also abolished. The Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors (BPELS) will then assume “…all the duties, powers, purposes, responsibilities, and jurisdiction previously vested in the Board…” along with “…two personnel years…for performance of the board’s responsibilities...” under the Geologist and Geophysicist Act.
The Association of Engineering and Environmental Geologists (AEG) has alerted it's members with an email blast that says,
This transfer, which had no impact whatsoever on the budget, was not accompanied by the resources or structure necessary for BPELS to fulfill its new mission. As it stands now, there will be no geologists or geophysicists on BPELS, there will be no name change to reflect its new mission, and BPELS will not have the manpower to perform its new functions - only two personnel years were reallocated from BGG. Early discussions with BPELS personnel indicated that none of the standing committees, including the Exam Committee, will be continued. BPELS has since declined to meet with us until after the October 23 elimination date to discuss the many serious issues that have not been addressed. The net effect of all this is that geologists will soon be regulated by an agency that is ill equipped to handle the responsibility and arguably hostile to its new licensees.

The good news is that there is something that can be done - we can seek an injunction against implementation of AB4X 20. The BGG was abolished suddenly and without due process, eliminating any open, fair and transparent review of the potential consequences. Existing law that carefully and deliberately outlines the specific measures and the timetable necessary for the elimination of boards and commissions was ignored entirely. The injunction will hopefully stop this action and require legislators to follow established procedures where informed voices can be heard in the formation of a board responsible for public safety.

To get started, the California Sections of AEG are forming the California Association of Professional Geologists, which will file the injunction. We hope that other organizations representing geoscientists, including AEG’s national organization, will join in down the road. AEG, however, cannot fund this effort alone. We need your help! The estimated cost for this is $15,000 to get through filing the initial complaint and up to $100,000 to see it through to the end. Noting the early estimate of $15,000, one geologist pledged $100 and challenged 149 other geoscientists to match his gift. A great way to put it! We, of course, will gratefully accept all contributions, of greater or lesser amounts, based on your ability to give. Contributions may be sent to:
AEGSC-Political Action Fund
1772-J E. Avenida De Los Arboles, PMB #304
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

The other side to this effort is an approach to legislators. We will be asking you to write letters at the appropriate time and with the appropriate message. We are in the process of consulting with legislators to elicit their advice and support in reinstating the BGG or repurposing BPELS into an agency that is fully equipped to fulfill its mission. With your help we can reach this important goal!
Peter Thams, Chair Bill Godwin, Chair John Pfeiffer, Chair
Southern California Section San Francisco Section Sacramento Section


  1. Anonymous7:21 AM

    geophysical survey for pipelines

  2. Anonymous7:21 AM

    geophysical survey for pipelines

  3. Anonymous10:54 AM

    Government licensing individuals with geology degrees who are ostensibly scientists but function as engineering technicians in the name of public health, welfare and safety has always been a scam. The fad of licensing "geologists" started in California and is apparently ending there.

  4. Anonymous7:45 AM

    If geologists function as scientists, it is improper for them to be regulated by a politically-appointed board. Scientists by definition should be impartial and objective and by definition cannot be if they are politically regulated. If they function as engineering technicians and are unhappy about compensation and subordination to engineers, that is their problem for making poor career choices.

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