House GOP Wants More Transparency in Science  
Edith Allison / April 2014

Congressional Republicans want greater public access to scientific data used as a basis for determining the need for air pollution regulations.

Updated Seismic Data Needed For OCS  
Edith Allison / March 2014

The first seismic surveys of the Atlantic Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) since 1988 could happen in the next two years – if the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) finalizes the required environmental impact statement (EIS) in the next few months.

Production Grows – As Do Areas of Concern   
Edith Allison / February 2014

Oil and natural gas production continued to grow in the United States in 2013 even as progress on new federal laws and regulations stalled – but local opposition to shale gas and oil development increased.

Report Shows Need for Data in Health Debate  
Edith Allison / January 2014

The recent National Academies’ Institute of Medicine (IOM) report on its late-April 2012 workshop, “Health Impact Assessment of Shale Gas Extraction,” describes many potential health impacts of shale gas development and identifies the data gaps.

Budget Cuts Threaten Industry Research Efforts  
Edith Allison / December 2013

Basic research – the source of innovative technology – has experienced significant cuts in the past three years as the House and Senate have disagreed on spending proprieties and “sequestration” has become the default budget process.

Confused Over Methane Data? Stand in Line  
Edith Allison / November 2013

Over the past two years large variations in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates of the volume of methane released during natural gas production have been used by organizations arguing respectively that natural gas is cleaner than or dirtier than coal.

Self-Compliance Joins ‘Best Practices’ List  
Edith Allison / October 2013

As shale gas development has boomed over the past decade and public concern about its safety has swelled, both regulatory agencies and operating companies have accelerated their efforts to improve environmental safety.

President’s Climate Plan Begins its Journey  
Edith Allison / September 2013

The president’s Climate Action Plan, released June 25, aims to slow the effects of climate change.

Shale Gas Workshops Offering Diverse Views  
Edith Allison / August 2013

Starting in 2012 and continuing through this fall, the National Academies (NAS) are hosting workshops to inform the public about shale gas development. 

Questions Continue to Center on Gas Potential  
Edith Allison / July 2013

Natural gas production has mushroomed over the past five years. At the same time, natural gas prices have declined.

Annual CVD Takes AAPG to Washington  
Edith Allison / June 2013

April brought AAPG members to Washington, D.C., for visits with federal agencies and Senate and House offices.

NAS Report Tracks Workforce Issues  
Edith Allison / May 2013

The National Academy of Sciences recently released its report “Emerging Workforce Trends in the U.S. Energy and Mining Industries: A Call to Action,” which determines that the demand for energy and mining workers is higher than the current supply – despite offers of high salaries.

Consensus Still Eludes Emissions Debate  
Edith Allison / April 2013

Regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions are now common – 33 countries and 18 sub-national jurisdictions will have a price on carbon in 2012 – but the topic is contentious in the United States and other countries as carbon emissions regulations take hold.

Making the Leap From Research to Innovation  
Edith Allison / March 2013

In a November 2012 report, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) reported that a historically strong commitment to research and development (R&D) by government and industry has assured the United States leads the world in technology and innovation.

EPA Fracturing Study Moves Forward – Slowly  
Edith Allison / February 2013

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its “Study of the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources: Progress Report” in late December.

Industry Keenly Watches Canadian Energy Policy  
Edith Allison / January 2013

U.S. and Canadian energy markets have been closely linked for many years as excess Canadian oil and natural gas production supplied U.S. demand. 

The Year That Was(n’t) – D.C. Action Was Rare  
Edith Allison / December 2012

The 112th Congress (January 2011 to January 2013) has passed little legislation – in fact, it set a record for inactivity, and no bills impacting petroleum exploration and production have been passed.

Many Hearings, Some Questions, Few Answers  
Edith Allison / November 2012

AAPG provided a glowing introduction to me last month in this column, but now that it is time for my first column:

AAPG Member Named GEO-DC Director  
Edith Allison / October 2012

Consulting geologist and AAPG member Edith C. “Edie” Allison has been named director of the AAPG Geoscience and Energy Office in Washington, D.C. (GEO-DC), a position that has been vacant since David Curtiss became AAPG executive director in August 2011.

Geology a Factor in Fracturing Regs  
Aaron Rodriguez / May 2012

Geology’s role in unconventional natural gas production (via hydraulic fracturing and directional drilling) often is overlooked by the public, but it is a key factor in ensuring that natural gas production is efficient, economic and environmentally responsible.

Hydraulic Fracturing Spawns New Regs  
Aaron Rodriguez / April 2012

Shale gas production is booming throughout the United States and the world due to the success of the cutting edge – and in some corners, controversial – drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing.

Politics Puts Keystone XL Pipeline in Limbo  
David Curtiss / February 2012

I first wrote about the Keystone XL pipeline in this column back in September 2010. At the time, the project was nearing the end of a review by the U.S. Department of State for a Presidential Permit.

Casing Gets Early Blame in Fracturing Studies  
Erin Camp / January 2012

A wise adage states that anything worth having is not easily obtainable – and it just so happens that the most promising source of cleaner, domestic, cost-effective energy of the near future also is incredibly controversial.

Reserves, Resources Reporting Examined  
Creties Jenkins / November 2011

A multidisciplinary symposium focused on providing clarity to the estimation and reporting of petroleum reserves and resources was held in July in Houston. The symposium brought together a diverse group of stakeholders represented by 200 people from more than 100 organizations in 17 countries.

GEO-DC Office Still Doing Business   
Peter MacKenzie / October 2011

AAPG’s presence in Washington, D.C., the Geoscience and Energy Office, or GEO-DC, was established by the DPA and AAPG in 2005 – it is fast approaching a six-year anniversary.

Profession Has a Lot at Stake in Budget Battle   
David Curtiss / September 2011

Sitting at his Oval Office desk on Aug. 2, President Obama signed into law the compromise agreed to by the House of Representatives and Senate to lift the nation’s debt ceiling and trim federal spending.

Lack of Energy Policy Affects Jobs   
David Curtiss / August 2011

Persistently high employment by U.S. standards – upward of 9 percent – figures as a prominent issue for politicians of every stripe seeking to gain or hold political office in the 2012 election.

Climate, Coal and CCS Stir Debate   
David Curtiss / July 2011

One casualty of the November 2010 elections was climate change legislation.

David Curtiss / June 2011

BP made headlines in late April by pledging $1 billion for restoration projects along the Gulf Coast.

Let the Conversation Begin   
David Curtiss / May 2011

Headlines proclaimed the news that automobile drivers already knew: Crude oil and gasoline prices marched ever higher as spring began. In fact, crude oil set a record of “highest March price ever.”

Budget Games: R&D, Tax Breaks in Play   
David Curtiss / April 2011

“Winning the future,” is how President Barack Obama characterized the challenge facing the United States in his State of the Union address. And while his goal lacked the specificity of President John F. Kennedy’s charge to put a man on the moon, Obama clearly wanted to mobilize the country.

Disaster Unmitigated   
David Curtiss / March 2011

One month after the tragic loss of the Deepwater Horizon drill rig in the Gulf of Mexico, President Obama signed an Executive Order establishing the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.

An Eroding Competitiveness …   
David Curtiss / February 2011

In 2005 the National Academies released a report titled “Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future.”The report’s objective, with the bipartisan encouragement of a concerned Congress, was to assess the nation’s scientific and technological enterprise and recommend specific policy steps to ensure that it would continue delivering the advances necessary to ensure U.S. competitiveness and prosperity.

A ‘Real’ Energy Policy?   
David Curtiss / January 2011

A new year offers the chance for new beginnings – and that’s what’s happening here this month in Washington, D.C., as the Senate and House of Representatives convene the 112th Congress.

GEO-DC Office Marks Fifth Year  
Dan Smith, Peter MacKenzie / December 2010

This month marks the fifth anniversary of the Geoscience and Energy Office in Washington, D.C. (GEO-DC), established by the AAPG Executive Committee in June 2005. We are taking this opportunity to review the purpose, past accomplishments and future plans for the office. 

Will Lame Ducks Set Stage for Energy Debate?  
David Curtiss / November 2010

President Barack Obama came to office during a tumultuous period, and with a long list of policy priorities: stimulating the economy, withdrawing combat troops from Iraq, reforming the health care and financial services sectors, and so on.

AAPG Adds Voice to Moratorium Conversation  
David Curtiss / October 2010

As oil spilled from the Macondo well into the Gulf of Mexico in the days following the Deepwater Horizon drill rig explosion, the White House scrambled to respond. President Obama ordered the Department of the Interior to conduct a safety review of offshore operations and report back within 30 days. In the interim, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the department would not issue new deepwater drilling permits.

Canada/U.S. Pipeline Scrutinized  
David Curtiss / September 2010

It’s common knowledge, and it’s wrong. The top suppliers of crude oil to the United States are Canada and Mexico.

Some Summer (or Winter) Reading Ideas  
David Curtiss / August 2010

John Hofmeister is well known to many in the oil and gas industry as former head of Shell’s U.S. operations. Trained as a political scientist and then working at General Electric, Nortel and AlliedSignal before coming to Shell, his background is one of planning, preparation and pragmatism.

Gulf Tragedy Spawns Multiple Probes  
David Curtiss / July 2010

The tragic loss of life aboard the Deepwater Horizon on April 20 and resulting environmental disaster has shocked the nation. Images of the drill ship ablaze and gripping accounts of crew members leaping from the crippled vessel hoping to save themselves lead to a critical question:

ARPA-E – Not a Typical Research Effort   
David Curtiss / June 2010

It should come as no surprise that here at GEO-DC we spend a lot of time talking about energy and the future of energy.

Process Begins to Open OCS to Exploration   
David Curtiss / May 2010

The media had been buzzing all morning with news that the administration was planning to open additional areas of the outer continental shelf (OCS) to exploration and production as part of a new energy plan.

Study Quantifies Lands Ban Costs   
David Curtiss / April 2010

Exploring and developing the natural resources on U.S. public lands has been subject of debate for decades.

Oil, Gas Take Hits on Proposed Budget   
David Curtiss / March 2010

The president has proposed to repeal a series of oil and natural gas tax “preferences.”

Climate politics: Looking for Compromise   
David Curtiss / February 2010

The U.S. Senate finished 2009 with a triumphant vote on health care legislation. The lengthy and hard fought negotiations needed to secure the 60 votes necessary for passage of the health care bill delayed Senate action on climate change. As senators now turn to this similarly contentious issue, they again face the difficult task of drafting a bill that garners 60 votes.

Authorizing and Appropriating   
David Curtiss / January 2010

Congress passes many laws – that is its principal function as outlined in Article I of the U.S. Constitution. It also controls the nation’s purse strings, deciding how tax revenue collected from the people will be spent for the people.

Forum Included Q&A From Public   
David Curtiss / December 2009

Shortly after lunch on Oct. 14 people began filing into the ballroom of the Tulsa Marriott Southern Hills Hotel. They included attendees of the 2009 AAPG Mid-Continent Section meeting, members of the general public and two busloads of students from local high schools.  They were there to participate in a conversation about energy – its past and its future. 

Members Take Message to ‘the Hill’   
David Curtiss / November 2009

For the second consecutive year, earth scientists gathered in Washington, D.C., in September for geosciences Congressional Visits Day (geoCVD).

Rare Elements Policy Offers a Lesson   
David Curtiss / October 2009

Let’s face it, most geology news in the popular press is event driven. Soaring oil prices was last year’s headline. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions grabbed media attention this year.

OCS Access Debate Continues   
David Curtiss / September 2009

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ruled that while it remained concerned about environmental assessments performed for the 2007-12 five-year program, those concerns were restricted to the lease sales planned for the Arctic Ocean and Alaska outer continental shelf (OCS).

The ‘Sausage’ of Climate Change   
David Curtiss / August 2009

As is often the case with legislation in the U.S. Congress, it takes a crisis to pass it. Absent a handy crisis, a looming Congressional recess can usually provide the necessary motivation to get legislation to the floor for a vote.

AAPG Makes Impression on ‘The Hill’   
David Curtiss / July 2009

GEO-DC was host to 14 AAPG members in Washington, D.C., in May for the first-ever AAPG Congressional Visits Day (AAPG CVD).

Clean Energy Act’s Details Debated  
David Curtiss / June 2009

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a finding that carbon dioxide and several other greenhouse gases endangered public health and welfare – a finding that requires EPA to issue a rule to regulate emission of these gases under the Clean Air Act.

‘Energy Policy’ Process is Under Way   
David Curtiss / May 2009

The plane was buffeted by gusty winds as it banked to line up with the runway, but with a steady hand the pilot guided our craft to a safe landing at Midland International Airport. It was my first trip to the heart of the Permian Basin.

A Whopping Sum of Money   
David Curtiss / April 2009

April 15 is the day of financial reckoning for most U.S. taxpayers. That is the day when many of us rush to the post office at the stroke of midnight to send our tax forms to the IRS, typically accompanied by a check for taxes owed (those getting a refund have reason to file much earlier).

Fuel Rule Could Ripple Upstream  
David Curtiss / March 2009

In January 2007 California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued an executive order announcing that California would develop a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS). The purpose of the LCFS is to reduce by at least 10 percent the carbon intensity of fuels used for passenger vehicles in California by 2020. The governor’s action put the state into the familiar position of crafting unique and occasionally controversial environmental policy. And there is an old saying about these policies:

Reserves Disclosure Rules Revised  
David Curtiss / February 2009

Oil and natural gas professionals have been urging the SEC to modernize its disclosure rules for oil and natural gas reserves for many years.   The principal criticism of the original rules is that they were introduced more than a quarter century ago.

Energy Likely High on ‘To Do’ List  
David Curtiss / January 2009

The beginning of a new year is the time we traditionally resolve to make the changes necessary to improve our lives. It is also the time we ponder what opportunities and challenges the new year will bring.

Policy Watch

Policy Watch - Edie Allison
Edie Allison began as the Director of the AAPG Geoscience and Energy Office in Washington D.C. in 2012.

Policy Watch is a monthly column of the EXPLORER written by the director of AAPG's  Geoscience and Energy Office in Washington, D.C. *The first article appeared in February 2006 under the name "Washington Watch" and the column name was changed to "Policy Watch" in January 2013 to broaden the subject matter to a more global view.

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Washington Watch

Washington Watch - David Curtiss

David Curtiss served as the Director of AAPG’s Geoscience and Energy Office in Washington, D.C. from 2008-11.