DPA Backs Texas Board of Professional Geologists

Texas Gov. Rick Perry gave his State of the State address Feb. 8, with the central theme being “Reform and the Streamlining of State Government.” As with many states, Texas is facing red ink. The governor wants to balance the budget, and in order to do so one of his initiatives is to combine or suspend 40 boards.

The Texas Board of Professional Geologists (TBPG) is one of those requested to be suspended or merged.

Last year, the DPA assisted in a similar battle in California where the state proposed to merge the Board of Geologists and Geophysicists with the state’s Board of Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors.

To refresh memories, the DPA, along with the AAPG Executive Committee, not only provided support in the form of letters but also provided financial support to assist in the required activities. Our efforts failed and the boards were merged. Former Gov. Schwarzenegger appointed an engineering geologist to the newly created geologist position on the board in his last days in office.

The Texas Board is now facing a similar crisis.

On Feb. 10, a task force composed of PGs from various geological societies and organizations was formed to review and discuss the governor’s budget proposal. Two current members of the DPA Executive Committee are on the task force: Paul Britt, past president of DPA, and myself.

Considering the grave consequences of suspension or merger, it was agreed to obtain letters of support from as many geoscience societies and organizations as possible.

The DPA State Registration and Licensing Committee drafted a letter of support. The DPA and AAPG Executive Committees both approved the letter, which defines the importance of the TBPG in matters that impact the health, safety and welfare of the public.

This letter, sent to the office of Gov. Perry, encourages the governor and the legislature to consider either retaining the board as it currently exists or establishing a self-directed semi-independent agency.

On Feb. 24, testimony was given before the Texas Senate Finance Committee regarding the budget and support of the TBPG. At the time this column is being written we do not know what will ultimately happen in the Texas State Legislature.

To review the letter of support by the DPA, please go to the DPA website.

The DPA, its Executive Committee, councilors, committees and other volunteers have worked very hard this year to make our Business Plan goals a reality. I thank everyone involved – including the AAPG staff, and in particular Divisions manager Norma Newby – for a job well done.

This will be my last column as president of the division. Marty Hewitt will be picking up the reigns as of July 1.

I wish Marty the best in 2011-12.

This year has been both challenging and rewarding. Even though there are only a few months left in this fiscal year, the planning for ongoing DPA events continues.

The DPA has a fantastic 2011 slate of luncheon talks, forums and short courses starting with AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition (ACE) in Houston and continuing through the AAPG International Conference and Exhibition (ICE) in Milan, Italy.

At ACE the DPA is sponsoring five separate events. These include:

  • The “Discovery Thinking Session” on Monday afternoon (see related story, page 33.)
  • A joint DPA/Prowess luncheon on Tuesday, April 14.
  • A joint DPA/Prowess Forum on “Diversity, Professionalism and Ethics on Tuesday, April 14 (related story, page 52).
  • Two short courses – “How To Be An Independent” Sunday, April 10, and “Petroleum Resources and Reserves: An Overview of Recommended Geological Practices,” Thursday, April 14.

;For the Pacific Section meeting, set May 8-11 in Anchorage, Alaska, the DPA luncheon features Mark Myers presenting “The North Slope of Alaska 43 Years after Prudhoe Bay State No. 1.”

The DPA short course will be presented by John Etherington, titled “Petroleum Resources Management System (PRMS)” – a must for anyone working with resources or reserves.

♦In June, the DPA heads to the Rocky Mountain Section meeting in Cheyenne, Wyo., with two DPA events slated for this conference:

  • John Robitaille, vice president of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, will provide an “Overview of Wyoming Oil and Gas.”
  • I’ll be presenting a short course on “Petroleum Resources and Reserves: An Overview of Recommended Geological Practices” – my last official act as DPA president.

At the Mid-Continent Section meeting, set Oct. 1-4 in Oklahoma City, the DPA is sponsoring a luncheon featuring Rayola Dougher, senior economic adviser for the American Petroleum Institute in Washington, D.C.

And finally, it is off to ICE in Milan, Italy, in late October. The DPA is very excited about the sponsored events at ICE. Our featured luncheon speaker is former BP CEO Tony Hayward, who will be speaking about “The Energy Challenge – Threats and Opportunities.”

The DPA also is sponsoring an exciting diverse forum including the following topics:

  • Who Owns the Arctic – Lindsay Parsonn.
  • Integration of Geophysical Data – Martin Sinha.
  • Offshore Hydrocarbon Resources of the West Coast of the United States – Drew Mayerson.
  • United Nations Framework Classification for Hydrocarbon and Mineral Resources – David MacDonald.

Finally, I wish again to thank everyone for supporting the DPA this year. I truly enjoyed working with so many great folks this past year. We had an aggressive business plan. I feel that we accomplished a lot.

I now look forward to handing the baton to Marty and stepping into the past president spot.

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Division Column-DPA: Daniel J. Tearpock

Daniel J. Tearpock, CEO of Subsurface Consultants & Associates, LLC, is DPA President for 2010-11.

Division Column-DPA

The Division of Professional Affairs (DPA), a division of AAPG, seeks to promote professionalism and ethical standards, provide a means for professional certification of petroleum geologists, coal geologists, and petroleum geophysicists, assist in career planning, and improve the professional well-being of AAPG members. For more information about the DPA and its activities, visit the DPA website.

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