2007 GSA Denver Annual Meeting (28–31 October 2007)

Paper No. 13
Presentation Time: 11:45 AM


COBB, James C., Kentucky Geological Survey, 228 MMRB, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0107, cobb@uky.edu

AASG is an organization of the state geologists of each state, associate state geologists of each state, and honorary members. It is governed by the state geologists of the 50 states and Puerto Rico, each state having one vote. It is a reflection of the nation, with all the state and regional similarities and differences. It has played a vital role in the history of the United States during the 20th century, organizing and promoting activities including topographic and geologic mapping, resource assessments, groundwater supply and protection, geologic hazards assessments, and support for and feedback to federal programs in all of these areas. AASG was instrumental in passing the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Act that was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush in 1992. The history of AASG is a study in public policy, government actions and inactions, and state-federal cooperation and dissent, but ultimately it reflects the history of advocacy for geology-related programs needed by society.

The Association of American State Geologists will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2008. It was founded when 42 of the 46 states had geological surveys. The U.S. Geological Survey had been in existence for 29 years and there was both support and disagreement between states and the federal government concerning geologic work on non-federal lands. Since state geological surveys were part of state governments, these surveys needed an organization to influence the federal government, exchange ideas, and foster cooperation. The AASG was founded in Washington D.C. on May 12, 1908, with 22 state geologists in attendance. Science Magazine announced the new organization. The first officers elected were H.B. Kummel (N.J.), president; H. Foster Bain, secretary; and J.H. Pratt (N.C.), executive committeeman. The first resolution, for a national topographic mapping program, was sent to President Theodore Roosevelt at the Conference of Governors.

AASG has been a strong voice for the needs of states in geology, mineral resources, hazards, and water, and an organizing force behind many state-federal cooperative programs. That voice has been unwavering through these 100 years: that the issues of the states matter a great deal to the nation, and federal programs must meet the needs of the states to be successful.