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Find Your Science at GSA
3 October 2011
GSA Release No. 11-60
Christa Stratton
Director of Education, Communication, & Outreach

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GSA President presents USGS Coalition Leadership Award to U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman

Jeff Bingaman and John Geissman
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and GSA President John Geissman.
Suzette Kimball and Craig Schiffries
USGS Deputy Directory Suzette Kimball and GSA Director for Geoscience Policy Craig Schiffries.

Boulder, CO, USA - Geological Society of America (GSA) President John Geissman had the honor of presenting the USGS Coalition Leadership Award to U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) at the coalition's annual reception on Capitol Hill. The USGS award recognizes Senator Bingaman's extraordinary public service and his leadership on legislation and policies regarding natural resources, public lands, and energy for current and future generations.

Geissman, who taught at the University of New Mexico for 27 years, thanked Bingaman for his consistent long-term commitment "to the support of the sciences and, notably, the geosciences and a key federal agency, the U.S. Geological Survey." Geissman, now a professor at The University of Texas at Dallas, also thanked Bingaman for his support of "science education at all levels in this country."

Geissman added, "You have made me proud to be a U.S. scientist, a U.S. geoscientist, and a New Mexico citizen!"

GSA Director for Geoscience Policy Craig Schiffries, who serves as co-chair of the USGS Coalition, also spoke at the awards ceremony. "The U.S. Geological Survey is one of the nation's premiere science agencies," Schiffries said. "It benefits every American every day." Schiffries went on to quote Senator Bingaman, affirming that he "'strongly believe[s] that sustained investment in science and technology is essential in order to ensure future American innovation and to maintain a competitive economy for high-wage job creation. Just as in the case of our national security, our economic future depends on us remaining the world leader in science and technology.'"

Senator Bingaman said, "I am honored to receive this award and thank the USGS Coalition. USGS provides critical scientific information to Congress and the nation, which is why I have been happy to support the important work that it does."

USGS Deputy Director Suzette Kimball was also on hand. "I am especially pleased that the Coalition is honoring Senator Bingaman this year," she said. "For those that may not know, Senator Bingaman's Committee oversees the whole USGS and our broad science mission. The Senator and his staff have also regularly called on USGS scientists to brief colleagues on everything from rare earths to remote sensing. And let's not forget his sponsorship of the Secure Water Act, which will guide USGS and Bureau of Reclamation water research for many years to come."

Senator Bingaman, who is the third-longest serving member of the Senate, has, according to Kimball, "served as a leader of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee for over a decade." Currently, Bingaman chairs this Committee, which has jurisdiction over public lands and national energy policy. He also chairs the Senate Finance Committee's Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure Subcommittee, and he is a member of other committees on economic and health policy.

Photographs of the USGS Coalition reception were taken by Julie Palakovich Carr of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) and are available online via the USGS Coalition website.

The USGS Coalition is an alliance of over 70 organizations united by a commitment to the continued vitality of the U.S. Geological Survey and its ability to provide critical data and services to the nation. The USGS provides independent, high-quality data, information, research support, and assessments needed by federal, state, local and tribal policymakers, resource and emergency managers, engineers and planners, researchers and educators, and the public.  The Coalition supports increased federal investment in USGS programs that underpin responsible natural resource stewardship, improve resilience to natural and human-induced hazards, and contribute to the long-term health, security, and prosperity of the nation.