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
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
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.
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
- Production of oil and gas can be increased in the United
- 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
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
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."