Articles

Public Protection Through Geology Licensure

The Fundamentals of Geology Examination and the required five to seven years of practical experience necessary to take the exam is a requirement for any geologist to become a Professional Geologist in the state of Florida. About half of the candidates that take the exam pass. It is worth noting that the Board of Professional Geologists is self-supporting, and has operated “in the black” since at least 2007.

Expertise in geology, acquired through education and professional licensing, is critical to utilizing and managing Florida’s mineral, energy, and water resources. This unique geological expertise and perspective is not duplicated by other licensed professionals such as engineers, landscape architects, etc. The meaning is clear: remove the professional licensure requirement from the practice of geology, and strip away a fundamental layer of public protection and expertise that our citizens currently have…

  • Protection and expertise for properly design, permit, and extract mineral resources such as aggregate and fossil fuels
  • Protection of groundwater aquifers that supply more than 90% of our drinking water
  • Protection by properly designing and constructing drinking water wells that provide safe drinking water and fire protection
  • Protection and expertise when a property owner has to address a sinkhole issue
  • Protection and expertise when an entire city’s water supply is threatened by contamination moving through a complex geology riddled with faults and solution caverns
  • Protection and expertise when an engineer needs geologic suitability information to design a building or bridge
  • Protection and expertise to properly site and construct a levee with walls that won’t fail
  • Protection and expertise for when accurate and reliable geological reports are needed by government agencies for public use
  • Protection and expertise to help design a landfill that won’t leak toxic waste into groundwater
  • Protection for when deep municipal waste water injection wells have to be designed and installed that won’t leak into drinking water aquifers.

Professional Geologists have the unique training, supervision, the requisite years of technical knowledge and expertise, and the sworn ethics to provide these protections with the highest level of professionalism. Unqualified geologists, who are employed in jobs that affect the public, place an undue risk on the health, safety and welfare of that public. The risks include the possibility of an error that will cause a loss of life or property; the higher costs of supervision; the costs of repeating incorrect and incomplete work; and lower cost/benefit ratios brought about by an inability to do efficient work.

The Florida Association of Professional Geologists urges the immediate withdrawal of HB 4133 – a bill designed to take away critical protections that, if passed, potentially places every citizen at risk.