The Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists in early November unanimously voted the immediate withdrawal of proposed rules concerning the removal of exemptions for petroleum geologists from licensure.
The proposed rules were criticized in a letter signed by AAPG President Paul Weimer and DPA President Marty Hewitt that was presented a week before the board shelved the proposals.
The Texas board also unanimously approved a draft opinion that reaffirmed the exemption of geoscientists working in the exploration and development of oil, gas or other energy resources, base metals and precious or non-precious minerals – including sand, gravel or aggregate – from licensure under the Texas Geoscience Practice Act.
The AAPG letter noted that the proposed changes “would have a negative impact on the oil and gas industry with a significant loss of employment for geoscientists who did not elect to participate in initial licensing under the grandfather clause in the act.
“They did this with the understanding that their work would be exempt, and would not be subject to the act in the practice of oil, gas, energy resources and minerals exploration and development,” the letter continued. “These geoscientists would most likely suffer a serious setback in their careers while seeking to qualify for their license.”
The letter also stated that the Texas Act has become a model other states have followed in the development of their own rules. If other states were to follow suit, the ability of Texas geoscientists to pursue business outside of the state would be negatively impacted by the requirement to be licensed in those other states.