The National Conference of State Legislatures was held in July this year in Philadelphia, and as DPA president I had the opportunity, along with GEO-DC Director David Curtiss and Don Juckett, to represent the AAPG.
It was a fascinating experience. The exhibit hall was smaller than the AAPG annual convention’s exhibits, but about the size of the larger AAPG Section meeting exhibits.
That’s where the similarity ended.
The booths were filled with organizations, associations, companies and groups representing a reasonably large cross-section of American industry, professions, vocations, interests and hobbies. Next to our booth was the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, and throughout the hall were groups representing toy manufacturers, car manufacturers, food and beer makers and distributors, auto repair associations, humane and animal protection groups, health providers, health insurers, pharmaceuticals, women’s groups, travel groups, massage therapists, gun manufacturers, gun control advocates, the NRA, PITA, Red Cross and even the American Association for Nude Recreation.
The talks featured a similar cross-section of topics, and when the attendees were not in talks, they visited the exhibits hall.
It gave me an appreciation of the cacophony of issues that legislators at all levels are subjected to. And their staffs are expected to sort out and rank the importance of issues from the inundation of information – from literally hundreds of groups with different interests and agendas, sometimes in direct opposition to one another. Trade/labor versus industry, industry versus consumers, and so on.
We had a number of state legislators stop in the booth, and all who stopped were supportive – some from states that had oil and gas production, and some that wanted more oil and gas production in their state. A notable number of foreign legislators also were at the conference, from Africa, India, Southeast Asia and elsewhere, and many of those stopped by as well.
We distributed AAPG materials, and showed AAPG and other publications that could be useful to them.
Probably because the conference is held in the summer, a surprising (at least to me) number of educators and teachers also attended. This presented a great opportunity to put the AAPG in front of educators from all over the country.
This conference is the only concentration of state legislators where the AAPG has an opportunity to get in front of many lawmakers in one place. The alternative is to visit many of the state capitals, which is a prospect well beyond the scope and budget of the AAPG – unless the AAPG membership was to get involved.
We are working on possible plans to enable AAPG and DPA members to contact their state legislators to get education of earth science and geology to them, so that the lawmakers can have better access to scientific knowledge in the law-making process.
And this is not limited to U.S. legislators. Non-U.S. AAPG members also could get involved, bringing education of earth science into the law making process wherever AAPG has a presence.
If you have any interest or ideas in this issue, please feel free to contact me.
As an update to the July 2009 EXPLORER column regarding the DPA Town Hall meeting in Midland, Texas, the DPA is currently processing 19 new applications for membership.
And a correction to that issue is in order: A Gulf Coast councilor, Chacko John in Baton Rouge, La., was left off the list of officers, and Al Baker, New Orleans, is an alternate councilor.
The Joint Committee On Petroleum Reserves Evaluator Training (JCORET) is a four-society committee (AAPG, SPE, SPEE and WPC). Each society must appoint three members to JCORET. They serve two-year terms.
The DPA is looking for members interested in serving on this committee.
For more information, please contact DPA President-elect Dan Tearpock.