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Illinois geologist's professional licensing in jeopardy

from AEG

AEG members working/residing in Illinois please take a moment to respond to Illinois Senate Bill 1821 (S.B. 1821). The summary of the bill notes to repeal the Professional Geologist Licensing Act, specifically. Please consider sending an email, a letter and also calling your State representative to ask them to vote no on this bill. You will need to contact your direct representative to be most effective.

AEG members need to know that your profession and standard of practice is under attack in Illinois, and you will need to take immediate action if you want to communicate your concerns to your Illinois state legislators. Please ask your representative for a no vote on S.B. 1821. See the Illinois General Assembly website for more information about this Senate Bill.

Also working its way through the House is H.B. 1969. The main sponsor of this bill is David B. Reis from Olney. The intent is to clean up unwanted stuff and create competitiveness within Illinois. However, in so doing, it is calling for "The Professional Geologist Licensing Act is repealed" on page 126, Section 90, and subsequently, the words “Licensed Professional Geologist” has been deleted and replaced by “professional geologist”. Again, please consider sending an email, a letter and also call your representative to ask them to vote no on this bill. You will need to contact your direct representative to be most effective.

As you may or may not be aware, AEG was formed in 1957 directly as a response to poor standards of practice for geologists in California. After a period of heavy rainfall following an extended drought, there were a number of deaths related to landslides that occurred in new housing developments due to lack of geologic reviews of site plans. AEG was formed to improve the standards of practice and to lobby the state to establish some minimum standards of practice to save lives from similar events. The state of California was one of the first states to pass a professional geologists act, and became an example that almost all states have subsequently followed.

AEG played a direct role in this. Most of the states in America now require minimum standards for persons practicing as professional geologists because poor standards of practice in this field can result in large-scale deaths from improper interpretations of site geology. Loss of life from "bad geology" can occur from landslides, dam or levee failures, inadequate environmental assessments and cleanups, bridge and road failures, and can result in $100 millions in excessive construction costs for projects every year from poor site characterization due to lack of a qualified geologist. Just the savings in construction costs for things such as state highways and bridges will pay for state licensing of professional geologists, although license fees usually cover most of this cost. In Illinois, the State Board of Professional Geologists are not compensated for their time, they are volunteers.

AEG Past President Ken Fergason wrote an article on this subject in the September 2016 issue of AEG News. Please note that the link to Licensure Resources online as referenced in the article can be found here. more

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