John E. Johnston III, Vice-Chairman Louisiana Board of Professional Geoscientists
The Louisiana Legislature passed Act 974, the “Louisiana Professional Geoscience Practice Act” during the 2010 session. This legislation established the Louisiana Board of Professional Geoscientists, which has since implemented licensing of Professional Geoscientists, and administered the various provisions of the Act and its subsequent modifications. The Board consists of nine members, at least six of whom are to be (and eight of whom are) licensed professional geologists and at least one of whom is to be a licensed professional engineer. Nominees were selected by the governor from names submitted by the Baton Rouge Geological Society, the New Orleans Geological Society, the Shreveport Geological Society, the Lafayette Geological Society and the Louisiana Engineering Society. The selected nominees were then confirmed by the Louisiana State Senate.
The Baton Rouge Geological Society sponsored the Act, supported by the Lafayette and New Orleans geological societies and some national geologic organizations. Many prominent Louisiana geologists supported the bill, but there was also notable opposition from a number of oil and gas geologists from the Shreveport area.
There are many exemptions to Act 974:
Geoscientific work conducted by an employee or a subordinate of a license holder provided the work does not include the responsible charge of geoscientific work and is performed under the direct supervision of a licensed geoscientist who is responsible for the work;
Geoscientific work conducted by an officer or employee of the United States practicing solely as such an officer or employee;
Geoscientific work performed exclusively in the exploring for and the development of oil, gas or other energy resources, base metals, or precious or non-precious minerals including sand, gravel or aggregate, if the work is done in and for the benefit of private industry;
Geoscientific research performed through an academic institution, local, state or federal governmental agency, non-profit research institution, or for-profit organization including submission of a report on the research to a public agency;
Teaching geoscience or a related physical or natural science;
Work performed by a cartographer, technician, or physical or natural scientist including a geologist, geophysicist, soil scientist, chemist, archeologist, geographer or oceanographer, if the work does not include the practice of geoscience;
Work conducted by an archeologist, geoscientist, or other person performing a stratigraphic or historical geological investigation for archeological purposes;
And, testifying or preparing and presenting an exhibit or document for the sole purpose of being placed in evidence before an administrative or judicial tribunal or hearing if the testimony, exhibit or document does not imply that the person is licensed.
The bill originally had a one-year grandfathering period, but this was extended until December 31, 2014, after which date every applicant is required to pass a geoscientific examination in order to qualify for a license.
If you were grandfathered, and have not applied yet, please follow these instructions:
At www.lbopg.org, click on “Apply for a License,” create a user ID, complete the application, and then digitally sign and submit your license application online. Please thoroughly explain in detail your years of geoscience work experience (five minimum). Submit the email addresses for your three required geoscientist references. They will receive an email notifying them that you have requested a reference from them. They will be able to simply click on the provided link, create a login, read your statement, type their reference and submit it electronically. Further, your university transcripts may be submitted electronically as well. If your university does not provide electronic transcripts, they then must physically mail them directly to the LBOPG. If your transcripts are under a different last name, such as a maiden name, please include that name when applying for your license. Again, all transcripts must be sent directly from the university to the LBOPG office.
Once you complete the application and all references, transcripts, and fees have been received, the LBOPG Application Review Committee will review the application and those applications that meet the requirements will be presented to the Board for approval. After approval, you will receive license credentials that will state your name, license number and date of renewal and information about obtaining your license seal.
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if there are any problems.
The ASBOG examinations, “Fundamentals of Geology” and “Professional Geologist” will be administered on October 2, 2015. The “Fundamentals of Geology” exam is required for a Geologist-In-Training certificate in Louisiana. The “Professional Geologist” exam is required for a Professional Geoscientist license in Louisiana. Please visit www.asbog.org for further information concerning the ASBOG examinations. Once you have passed the appropriate examination you can then apply for a license.
Unless exempted, no unlicensed person can legally engage in the practice of geoscience, nor can they legally refer to themselves as any of the following: “Licensed Professional Geoscientist”, “Licensed Geoscientist”, “Professional Geoscientist”, or the initials “P.G.” or otherwise represent to the public that they are qualified to practice geoscience. No unexempted person can legally take responsible charge of any geoscientific report or any portion thereof of any report that is required by municipal or parish ordinance, state or federal law, state agency rule, or federal regulation that incorporates geoscientific study or geoscientific data without a license.
A NOTE ON PROFESSIONS
Geoscientists are considered to be geologists, geophysicists and geochemists. Professions not so considered include soil scientists, physical geographers, geological and civil engineers, and environmental scientists. Additionally, not all work performed by environmental geologists is considered qualifying. Professional exceptions can be made by the Board for those people who have at least thirty hours of college credit in geoscience and who have done geoscientific work for a minimum of five years under the direct supervision of a geoscientist who is either licensed or is qualified to be licensed.
Fifteen hours of continuing education per year are required to maintain a license, one of which must be ethics. For the details, please visit the LBOPG website.