Public Release: 

Geological Society of America issues new position statement: Geoscience and energy policy

Geological Society of America

Boulder, CO, USA: GSA's governing Council approved a new position statement, Geoscience and Energy Policy, at its October 2017 meeting in Seattle, Washington.

"This has been a long time coming," said GSA President Isabel Montañez. "I would like to thank the committee for their thoughtful work and GSA members for their valuable input. We have a document that we can be proud of."

The position statement summarizes the importance of the geosciences in developing fundamental data upon which sound energy policy should be based and the contributions geoscientists can make to the framing of energy policy.

Current Chair of GSA's Geology and Public Policy Committee (GPPC), Art Snoke, noted that energy issues in particular have relevance to, and are debated, at many levels of society and government. According to the new statement, "Most energy sources have important and distinct geologic factors that should be considered when analyzing the life-cycle impacts related to exploration, extraction, development, operations, human consumption, waste disposal, decommissioning, and reclamation."

The new position paper states, "Development of a comprehensive energy policy that significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions is essential for the future economic vitality, environmental well-being, and health and security of the citizens of the United States as well as other nations. Geoscientists locate, quantify, and help develop energy resources, and, along with professionals in other disciplines, assess and mitigate the impact of energy-resource development, operations, and use on the environment. Accordingly, input from geoscientists must be an integral part of all energy policy deliberations."

Read the full text of the position statement at

GPPC member G. Warfield "Skip" Hobbs emphasized that publication of the GSA energy statement "aims to inform policy makers in Washington that the geoscience community -- experts in climate change and energy -- agree that for the good of planet earth and humankind, policies must reduce fossil fuel carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions, and facilitate the transition to renewable energy resources."

The statement continues, "The challenge for energy policy makers is to develop a plan that will provide cost-effective improvements for the efficient and sustainable use of Earth's energy resources, reduce carbon emissions, and provide secure and affordable energy to the world's developing economies as well as the developed nations of the world. The knowledge and expertise of geoscientists take on added importance as countries and industries worldwide adapt to climate change and work to reduce carbon emissions."


Geoscience and Energy Policy Position Statement Contact:

Art Snoke, GSA's Geology & Public Policy Committee Chair

GSA undergoes a well-defined process in the proposal, development, and approval of its position statements, and all are consistent with the GSA's Vision and Mission .

Council also approved minor revisions to four existing position statements: Data Access, Geoscience Data Preservation, Improving Natural Hazards Policies through Geoscience, and Visas for Foreign Scientists and Students.

Full versions of these and other position statements are available at

The Geological Society of America, founded in 1888, is a scientific society with more than 25,000 members from academia, government, and industry in more than 100 countries. Through its meetings, publications, and programs, GSA enhances the professional growth of its members and promotes the geosciences in the service of humankind. Headquartered in Boulder, Colorado, GSA encourages cooperative research among earth, life, planetary, and social scientists, fosters public dialogue on geoscience issues, and supports all levels of earth science education.

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