Message Again Goes to Capitol

AAPG Summit Got to the Point

Even as portions of the National Energy Policy were being drafted, the second AAPG President's Conference on National Issues presented information to decision makers in Washington, D.C., on "Energy & Environment: A Partnership That Works."

The half-day session, held September 23 at the Reserve Officer Association Building across the street from the U.S. Capitol, included presentations on supply and demand issues, industry environmental practices and impact and evidence of environmental responsibility — with the intent to bring a view of rational science into the policy debate.

Presentations were highly visual, with short, to-the-point topics that pulled few punches before the audience of about 50 that included U.S. Senate staffers and top management from three regulatory agencies.

The program was spearheaded by Lee Gerhard, of Gerhard & Associates, with logistical support provided by Carl J. Smith, newly named director of the West Virginia Geological Survey, and David Applegate, of the American Geological Institute. Environmental activist and lawyer Victor Yannacone provided a lunch-time address.

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Even as portions of the National Energy Policy were being drafted, the second AAPG President's Conference on National Issues presented information to decision makers in Washington, D.C., on "Energy & Environment: A Partnership That Works."

The half-day session, held September 23 at the Reserve Officer Association Building across the street from the U.S. Capitol, included presentations on supply and demand issues, industry environmental practices and impact and evidence of environmental responsibility — with the intent to bring a view of rational science into the policy debate.

Presentations were highly visual, with short, to-the-point topics that pulled few punches before the audience of about 50 that included U.S. Senate staffers and top management from three regulatory agencies.

The program was spearheaded by Lee Gerhard, of Gerhard & Associates, with logistical support provided by Carl J. Smith, newly named director of the West Virginia Geological Survey, and David Applegate, of the American Geological Institute. Environmental activist and lawyer Victor Yannacone provided a lunch-time address.

AAPG President Dan L. Smith opened the meeting, stating that geologists fully appreciate their role as stewards of the earth — and as environmentalists they deploy the science and technology responsibly to provide the energy that provides for civilization.

The Message

  • In presenting current energy supply and demand figures, Pete Stark, of IHS, noted that there is no near-term decline in oil supplies and crisis policies are not required. However, he said, with a world demand growth of 56 percent and a U.S. demand growth of 31 percent projected for 2020, actions must be taken now for an orderly transition to alternate sources of energy.

  • Charles Mankin, Oklahoma State Geologist and director of the Sarkey's Energy Center at the University of Oklahoma, told the group that:
    • Production of oil and gas can be increased in the United States.
    • External sources of crude can be diversified.
    • Gas-to-liquids technologies should be pursued aggressively.

"Or," Mankin said, "we can forget the lessons from recent history and continue business as usual."

  • Gerhard, in providing a historical view of environmental impact, showed the technological advances that have provided environment-friendly exploration — as well as photographic evidence of regeneration of the environment by earth processes of areas formerly polluted.

  • In a presentation of current environmental practices, William Harrison, of the Kansas Geological Survey and past president of AAPG's Division of Environmental Geosciences, noted that "good environmental stewardship is consistent with good project economics."

  • Don Clarke, of the City of Long Beach, Calif., gave a visual tour of the exploration and production — past and present — in the Los Angeles urban environment. In giving apologies to Frank Sinatra and the song "New York, New York," Clarke noted, "If we can do it here, we can do it anywhere."

  • John Hogg, vice president of exploration of Atlantic Canada Exploration for EnCana, noted the astounding production and environmental success of the Hibernia, Terra Nova, Sable and Deep Panuke projects in the Grand Banks and the Scotian Shelf area of the North Atlantic Margin.

  • He noted that the prospective geology extends Florida, but production instead stops abruptly at the U.S. maritime border — because of environmental concerns.

  • In providing a session-ending summary, William L. Fisher, of the University of Texas at Austin, noted that the U.S. demand will never again allow it to be energy self-sufficient in the hydrocarbon economy.

    Hemispherical independence, however, is a possibility.

    He also noted that limited access to exploration, while a continuing struggle, remains in defiance of logic.

    "If we can live with it in Los Angeles, the Western Gulf or the Scotian Atlantic Margin," he said, "we can surely do it in the Rockies, the Eastern Gulf and in ANWR."

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