Congressional Visits Proved Interesting
During the first week of May, six AAPG members – Jim Hill, Pete MacKenzie, Deborah Sacrey, Carl Smith, Dan Smith and I – traveled to Washington, D.C., joining nearly 300 scientists, engineers and business leaders who made visits on Capitol Hill as part of the 11th annual “Congressional Visits Day,” an event sponsored by the Science-Engineering-Technology Work Group.
Don Juckett and David Curtiss, of our GEO-DC office, coordinated the AAPG group.
The six of us each visited the offices of our home congressmen and senators and focused on three subjects:
- Future Work Force Needs of the Oil and Gas Industry.
- Preservation of Geological and Geophysical Data.
- Research and Development Needs of the Domestic Petroleum Industry in the 21st Century.
We left a two-page outline of the issues and requested action items with each visited office.
We also had an interesting visit to the office staff of the Senate Energy Committee. We learned that Sen. Jeff
Bingaman (D-N.M.) and eight other senators had signed a letter to a subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee requesting that funding levels for the programs at the DOE for oil and gas research and development be no less than the $62.6 million appropriated in fiscal year 2006 to carry out this important work. David and Don arranged a meeting for me (also attended by Don) with Brian McCormack, special assistant to the president and deputy director of public liaison. His office is in the Executive Office Building, which has double security stations at the entrance. The purpose of this visit was to reinforce my invitation to President Bush to speak at the AAPG Annual Meeting in San Antonio.
The request is still viable but no commitment has been made.
The AAPG group in Washington was housed at the Army and Navy Club, arranged through the courtesy of Carl Smith, a member of the club.
During our stay, my wife, Marianne, who loves to talk with people, met an interesting young lady – a Kurdish citizen of Iraq. She serves in Iraq as an interpreter on duty 24/7 for the U.S. Army in areas where enemy combatants are lurking. In May she was spending some time in the United States in order to eventually qualify for U.S. citizenship.
We invited her to visit us in Midland.
Last week we received a box by priority mail from Iraq, which had been opened and inspected. Inside the box were photos of her with Iraqi and U.S. military officers, a United States flag and a certificate, which reads:
“United States Army
Operation Iraqi Freedom"
So that all shall know, this flag was flown in the face of the enemy for 9 minutes and 11 seconds and bears witness to the strength of the Iraqi and American people in rebuilding Iraq and denying a safe haven for terrorists.”
Perhaps next year we will have more AAPG members interested in participating in Congressional Visits Day and similar events targeted at providing information to the nation ’s policy makers in a manner that reflects the value of geosciences professionals and their contribution to the nation’s economic, environmental and energy security.
Washington is exciting; I look forward to my next visit.
Have a great day!