The US Geologic Survey is in the process of developing its 10-Year Plan and requested input from the public. On April 15, 2011, First Things First Alaska Foundation submitted the following responses to the five-question survey.
Question 1: What do you consider the most important Energy and Minerals science issues facing the Nation in the next decade?
Responsible resource development in Alaska is a crucial means to ensuring a healthy economic system and high quality of life for its residents. Mining is an important part of the resource development structure for Alaska and a viable USGS ten-year plan that respects and promotes this goal is crucial to its attainment. Additionally, reducing dependence on foreign supplies must be achieved for the overall security of our nation.
Question 2: As a partner or customer of the USGS, what type of Energy and Minerals science, information, activities, and research should the USGS be providing to meet your needs?
1. Geologic mapping – what mapping that does exist for most of Alaska does not incorporate modern geophysical survey technologies, modern deposit models and other updated technologies.
2. Completion of the Alaska Mineral Resources Assessment Program (AMRAP) – as promised/mandated by the Alaska National Interest Land Conservation Act (ANILCA).
3. Mapping Alaska for Rare Earth Elements – preliminary estimates predict the state could hold vast resources, but mapping is necessary to confirm this and identify sites.
4. Identification of the existence and location of sites in Alaska and the US of minerals in which the country is currently dependent on foreign sources for 50 percent or more of its needed supply.
5. Policy and resources to allow the USGS to be the leader among federal agencies in land planning – to ensure that areas prospective for energy and minerals are identified and to ensure that prospective lands are open to mineral entry.
6. On-line access to all historical data.
Question 3: As a partner or customer of the USGS, are you getting the Energy and Minerals science and information that you need from us? Please explain.
1. Geologic mapping in Alaska is sparse and does not incorporate modern geophysical survey technologies, modern deposit models and other updated technologies.
2. The Alaska Mineral Resource Assessment Program (AMRAP) is incomplete.
3. Rare earth elements in Alaska are not sufficiently mapped.
4. More mapping of minerals in which the US is dependent on foreign supplies should be undertaken.
Question 4: As a partner or customer of the USGS, how can the USGA improve the format, access, and usability of the Energy and Minerals science information that we provide?
1. Mapping must incorporate modern geophysical survey technologies, modern deposit models and other updated technology.
2. Historical data should be secured and provided on-line.
Question 5: Please feel free to provide any other ideas, suggestions or thoughts that you would like us to consider while formulating the 10-year Energy and Minerals Science Strategy for the USGS.
Please accept these comments from the board of Directors of the First Things First Alaska Foundation. The foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the economic viability and future of Alaska through education.