With a unanimous vote of the Executive Committee at the Calgary meeting, AAPG will take steps to open a full-time, onsite presence in Washington, D.C.
Patrick J.F. Gratton, who presided at the June 18 meeting, said the budget for the office is $150,000-200,000 per year, with AAPG committing $150,000 the first year. The Division of Professional Affairs, also meeting in Calgary, voted to fund $50,000 per year. The commitment for both is for a three-year trial period.
Called the Geoscience and Energy Office, Washington, D.C. (GEO-DC), the purpose of the new office and its director will be as a "scout for opportunities" to:
- Provide reliable scientific, geotechnical and professional information to the administration, Congress and governmental agencies.
- Provide information on work force needs for energy professionals and develop opportunities for continuing education and vocational training for new geoscientists.
- Identify possible chances to participate in emerging contracts or grants that utilize the energy and manpower expertise of AAPG members for the benefit of the geoscience profession and sound energy policy.
- Participate as an active, informed and recognized member of the community of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that regularly caucus and counsel with respect to energy and science policy.
A probative committee headed by then-President-elect Peter R. Rose wrote that "AAPG's overarching goal is to become a recognized, informed and responsible member of the community of non-governmental organizations in Washington that is recognized for its ability to educate government, media and other NGOs with respect to energy policy and short-term events, as well as to substantively contribute to energy-related projects funded by government and non-government organizations."
Others on the committee were John Armentrout, Lee Gerhard, Clint Moore and AAPG Executive Director Rick Fritz.
The report noted that the American Geological Institute (AGI), through its Governmental Affairs Program, has provided valuable service, and the GEO-DC office is an expansion of the AGI Governmental Affairs Program and is custom-designed for the needs of AAPG members.
Under the business plan, GEO-DC will be located in AGI's office in Alexandria, Va., with a full-time director. Applicants were invited in an ad in the April issue of the EXPLORER and a personnel decision will be announced later.
The office will be governed by a board comprising the AAPG president, chairman of the Advisory Council, DPA president and chairman of the DPA Governmental Affairs Committee, with the executive director of AAPG serving as non-voting secretary and coordinator of activities with the GEO-DC office and the governance board.
A GEO-DC Coordinating Committee will be formed as a standing AAPG committee and will gather information from other committees of AAPG and the three AAPG divisions for use by the office.
The Executive Committee noted that GEO-DC is to provide practical criteria, including financial measures, by which the EC will decide during the last half of fiscal year 2007-08 whether to continue the initiative.