Saturday, May 06, 2017

AZGS Stakeholders: Arizona Geological Survey state-allocated funding of $941,000 reinstated

6 May 2017

Dear Supporters and Colleagues:

On 5 May, 2017, Gov. Ducey signed the FY 2018 budget bill passed the previous day by the Senate and the House. This bill includes funding of $941,000 for AZGS, so as of 1 July we will once again receive state-allocated funds to perform our duties as detailed in state statute. In addition, language in the budget bill directs the Office of Strategic Planning & Budgeting to include the same level of funding in the base budgets they develop for the next 2 fiscal years.

In January 2017, Sen. Gail Griffin introduced SB 1184 to re-establish the Arizona Geological Survey’s (AZGS) state-allocated funds of $941,000. The bill sailed through the Arizona Senate in February, and as budget negotiations continued, eventually it passed House with overwhelming support and was incorporated into the legislature’s FY2018 budget. This success was led by Sen. Griffin’s determined efforts, with broad support in the House and the Senate. Previous and on-going research, investigations, and information dissemination by AZGS staff in the areas of mineral resources, natural hazards, and the geologic framework of Arizona, and strong support from our stakeholders regarding the importance of geology to society, made the case for renewed state funding.

A return of base funding assures that we will continue to serve, inform, and benefit Arizonans with these programs:

> geologic mapping
> geologic resource assessment
> geologic hazards investigations
> geoinformatics – digital geologic data
> outreach and education

Challenges – Rebuilding AZGS Staff & Resources. We face substantial challenges in rebuilding our staff and fleshing out our physical assets, but this base appropriation makes this very manageable. We will continue to seek external grants to leverage our base funding, develop our programs, and produce maps and reports to benefit Arizona.

In fall 2017, we plan to collaborate with colleagues at UA’s Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources, the Dept. of Geosciences, and the Dept. of Mining and Engineering to bring on a field-oriented economic geologist. The objective is to re-establish an economic geology program that is integrated into our mapping program and can help to understand and assess Arizona’s mineral resources. This will assist decision-makers at the local, state and national level in making informed decisions on the sustainable use of our natural resources.

We wholeheartedly thank Sen. Gail Griffin for introducing and championing SB1184; she worked tirelessly on behalf of AZGS, and we are deeply grateful. We also thank Steve Trussell, Executive Director of the Arizona Rock Products Association, for his long effort to inform and advise state legislators about the importance of our work to Arizona. The friendship and advice of Sen. Griffin and Steve Trussell over the past two years has been invaluable. We also acknowledge the incredible importance of Lee Allison’s leadership of the Survey from 2005-2016; Lee was an unparalleled advocate for the importance of geology to society, he led us through good times and difficult times, and constantly looked for new ways to demonstrate the value of the AZGS to society.

We thank legislators of the Arizona Senate and House for their overwhelming support for a budget allocation for AZGS, and to Governor Ducey for agreeing to this allocation. Last, we thank our stakeholders in government, the mining industry, the geotechnical and hydrological communities, and the public for their continued support of AZGS programs.

We’ll keep you informed of our progress.

Thank you!


Philip A. Pearthree, Ph.D. Director and State Geologist
Arizona Geological Survey,  University of Arizona
520 621 2444

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