The Professional Geologists Licensure
proposal to be considered by the Texas Legislature has been
endorsed in a Position Paper unanimously approved in early
November by the AAPG Executive Committee.
The Position Paper emanated from the Division
of Professional Affairs' Government Affairs Committee and
had a number of persons working on the approved draft, said
DPA president G. Warfield "Skip" Hobbs. They included Lee
Gerhard, chairman of the Government Affairs Committee; Rick
Ericksen, chairman of the Licensing and Registration Committee;
and Dwight "Clint" Moore.
AAPG Policy Statement:
Professional Geologist Licensure and Standing
Much of today's geological practice affects
the health, safety and welfare of the public, the environment
and the feasibility, economy and performance of engineered
works. Geologists not qualified to address these issues,
or other professionals insufficiently trained in geology
who do work that is fundamentally geological in nature,
may place undue risk on the public's health, safety and
welfare. These risks include the possibility of errors that
may cause a loss of property or life, increased cost of
construction, supervision and inspection, repetition of
incomplete or incorrect work, project abandonment and diminished
benefits from public work projects.
Twenty-seven states have established state
boards that regulate the public practice of geology within
their domains. These states believe that the geological
aspects of environmental, ground water and engineering projects
are sufficiently critical that qualified geologists be placed
in responsible charge of geological work.
Furthermore, the geologists in responsible
charge of geological work must demonstrate that they have
the education and experience necessary to competently perform
or direct geological investigations, and to accept responsibility
for the health, safety and welfare of the general public.
Hence, licensure of geologists appropriately distributes
risk and responsibility to those professionals who are qualified
to conduct geological investigations that may have an impact
on public health, safety and welfare.
In this regard, the licensure of geologists
complements the work of professional engineers.
Prior to the 1993 session of the Texas State
Legislature, representatives of the various geological organizations
within the State of Texas, including the American Association
of Petroleum Geologists, met to formulate a licensure bill
to regulate the practice of geology, as it affects public
health, safety and welfare, to be introduced in the 1993
legislative session. This bill was based on the Suggested
Geologist's Practice Act (1993) crafted by the Council of
Professional Geological Organizations (COPGO) (in which
The COPGO geologists' licensure bill and
similar bills introduced in three subsequent sessions were
killed prior to enactment.
Since the first bill was introduced in 1993,
representatives of geological organizations have added language
to proposed licensure bills that explicitly address the
concerns of engineers and of geologists whose work is not
related to matters of public health, safety and welfare.
These additions have been made to ensure that geologists
are not authorized to practice engineering (except in cases
in which geologists are licensed engineers), that the field
of engineering is not regulated by a licensure act for geologists
and that geologists involved in the exploration for and
development of fuel and/or non-fuel minerals are exempt
from the requirement for licensure.
The practice of geology, and its regulation,
would be facilitated and made more efficient if prior peer
certification by a recognized geoscience professional society
would be accepted as proof of qualification by state regulatory
agencies. However, with the exception of Alaska, state and
federal agencies have not accepted this as a fulfillment
of the qualifications of licensure.
It is recognized that the practice of geology
in such areas as groundwater, waste disposal, land development,
engineered works and environmental and coastal zone management
does directly affect the health, safety and welfare of the
public. In the interest of health, safety and efficiency,
only qualified geologists should be engaged in and be in
responsible charge of these inherently geological activities.
Texas is home to more geologists and more
AAPG members than any other state. The American Association
of Petroleum Geologists hereby endorses and encourages the
ongoing efforts for the licensure of professional geologists
in the State of Texas whose practice affects the health,
safety and welfare of the citizens of Texas.
This information was prepared by the Government
Affairs Committee of the Division of Professional Affairs,
a Division of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists,
with review and comments provided by the AAPG Division of