We enjoyed the opportunity of working together with Governmental Affairs Committee Chair (GAC) Carl J. Smith and DPA President Tom Ewing to organize and staff the AAPG booth at the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL), hosted by Massachusetts in Boston.
It was the first time that DPA’s Governmental Affairs Committee and the GEO-DC had a presence at the annual NCSL with its own exhibit booth. Previously the GAC has shared exhibit booth space with the AGI, AIPG and AEG.
Upon the recommendation of the GAC this year it had its own exhibit booth to communicate its perspectives on energy and related issues that impact its membership.
It is our assessment that the GAC/GEO-DC should continue its participation at the NCSL with its own booth.
The exhibit had a significant amount of traffic that ranged from legislators from states that were in attendance along with legislative support staff, and also many who were representatives from state agencies.
While it would be an exaggeration to say that we had substantive conversations with everyone who left a business card, we did acquire business cards from legislators and staff from 42 states, the District of Columbia, South Africa, a member of the Canadian Parliament and a representative from the United Nations.
As a way to draw attention to the exhibit, two mounted ammonite specimens were given away with the random drawing of business cards on Monday and Tuesday of the conference. One of the recipients was a state legislator from Maryland, and the other recipient was the immediate past president of the NCSL and a state senator from Illinois.
At the exhibit there was information concerning AAPG’s position statements, geologic road maps, etc. There was a great deal of interest expressed by several visitors concerning educational materials that may be available to the states via the AAPG.
There also was a considerable amount of interest expressed as to the hydrocarbon potential of the eastern United States, and issues related to that potential.
As with any booth display, the people who engage come from a variety of backgrounds and interest. We answered many questions about AAPG, resource endowment, education and job opportunities; and we responded to a broad scope of policy questions.
At the same time, we listened to individuals – many with favorable leanings toward the oil and gas industry and the energy-related activities in their states.
We each individually made commitments to follow up with information. Here are a couple of examples.
♦ One Oklahoma legislator had mentored a geology student who was entering his second year of undergraduate study. The legislator requested that we send the student a letter encouraging him to consider a career in petroleum geology.
We followed up with a personal letter and information about AAPG as a professional organization, highlighting the services and benefits of the Association.
♦ A legislative staffer from South Carolina engaged us in conversation about OCS leasing on the Atlantic coast. His assignment was to develop draft legislation that would petit ion for relief from the federal OCS moratorium.
We discussed the actions taken by Virginia in its legislative initiative and committed to providing copies of that legislation as well as contacts in the Virginia legislature among the proponents who had successfully passed Virginia’s moratorium relief legislation.
That initiative by Virginia has resulted in the Federal OCS acreage offshore Virginia to be included in the Minerals Management Service 2007-2012 OCS Leasing program.
It is anticipated that during the planning for next year’s conference that attention will be paid to the educational resources of the AAPG. It also is anticipated that it would be of added benefit to determine any specific legislation, either pending or proposed, related to energy producing states that those manning the exhibit should be aware of to address those legislators/staff who may need additional information on those issues.
Additionally, it would be of benefit to have representatives from the EMD and DEG present to discuss other energy resources and environmental issues related to energy resources.
Overall the exhibit was a successful endeavor, and it is anticipated that the ensuing exhibits will be even more fruitful in getting information out to those who need unbiased information related to energy resources and environmental issues.