GEO-DC Presence Being Felt in D.C.
It has been just over two years since GEO-DC opened its doors – and as a result AAPG is now widely recognized in Washington, D.C., as a provider of nonpartisan, scientifically sound information on petroleum, energy minerals and the environment.
As we transition leadership at GEODC it’s important to reflect on the accomplishments of the first two years.
In spring 2006 the U.S. Minerals Management Service published its draft Five-Year Plan for Outer Continental Shelf leasing activity (2007 to 2012) and invited public comments. The process was repeated in fall 2006 for the final Plan.
AAPG supports access to the outer continental shelf for exploration and production activities. So the DPA Governmental Affairs Committee activated the Action Alert system, encouraging members to respond. Other organizations did likewise, and the results were remarkable: The total number of comments exceeded 90,000.
Typically, negative comments outweigh the positive. But over both periods 73 percent of comments supported OCS development, and in the final period it reached 75 percent.
GEO-DC hosted AAPG delegates at Congressional Visits Day (CVD) 2006 and 2007. With the leadership of Deborah Sacrey and the Washington Advocacy Group, we are planning for a productive CVD 2008 March 4-5.
Elected officials and their staff need expert advice, and welcome it from qualified constituents. CVD provides opportunity to meet these people, and possibly become a valuable resource to your elected officials.
The National Petroleum Council (NPC) study provided the opportunity for direct AAPG member contributions at the national level.
The NPC is an oil and natural gas advisory committee reporting to the secretary of energy.
Don Juckett, who had been involved in previous NPC studies while working for the U.S. Department of Energy, worked to ensure AAPG involvement. Former AAPG president Pete Rose formally represented the Association, and a host of AAPG members from industry, government and academia contributed their knowledge and perspective to the final report. We are using the study extensively in our discussions with policy-makers.Over the past two years GEO-DC has taken a leadership role highlighting the work force challenge. To paraphrase Mark Twain’s comments on the weather, everybody talks about work force but no one seems to do anything about it – but that is changing.
The National Academy of Sciences is launching a study of work force issues in the petroleum and mineral sectors. Simultaneously, GEO-DC is working with other stakeholders on a legislative program to rebuild the nation’s petroleum and minerals geology, geophysics and engineering schools.
This effort is ongoing, and something we will be discussing with policy-makers at CVD 2008.
An important event last June was the AAPG/SPE Multidisciplinary Reserves Conference, jointly sponsored by the World Petroleum Council, the Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. This event brought together the professionals who generate oil and gas reserves and resources values and the professionals who use these values. Conference participants came from the United States and abroad, and included a large government contingent – including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The event raised awareness of the importance and challenge of establishing and maintaining up-to-date oil and gas reserves disclosure rules. And the effort is paying dividends. On Dec. 18 the SEC invited public comments and input on a variety of issues about a possible revision of SEC oil and gas disclosure rules. (See related story)
Reflecting on his tenure at GEO-DC, Don Juckett noted, “What is particularly poignant for me is to recognize that the events of the past two years are really about AAPG members becoming more involved in the public policy issues that impact them.
“It has been a distinct privilege working with a large number of you,” he continued. “I want to express my appreciation to AAPG as a great professional organization and to those members and staff who provided me with support and encouragement. I look forward to thanking you individually in the coming year.
“My parting request is that you continue to support GEO-DC with David Curtiss as director as enthusiastically as you have supported me.”
Thanks to Don’s leadership, GEO-DC rests on a firm foundation upon which we are building for the future.