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Welcome to the 2012 Briefing Series for Members of Congress and Staff

This year's theme is "Start with Science"

Previous Congressional Briefings

First in the 2012 series

Hydraulic Fracturing-The State of the Science

Hydraulic fracturing is the process of injecting wells with water, sand, and chemicals at very high pressure to produce unconventional oil and natural gas. These resources pose both opportunities and challenges. Join us to learn how USGS and its partners provide information so policy makers and resource managers can make decisions based on sound science.

Date: Friday, June 8, 2012
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.

Rayburn House Office Building,
Room 2325
Washington, D.C.

USGS identifierBrenda Pierce
Program Coordinator -Energy Resources Program

USGS identifierBill Leith
Senior Science Advisor for Earthquake and Geologic Hazards

DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory identifierRick Hammack
DOE National Energy Technology Laboratory

Additional Information:

The briefing is available on YouTube (provided by AGU).

Flyer: Science for the Future of the Bay exhibit
Congressional Sponsor: Hosted by: The following link leaves the USGS site.

Download if needed: Powerpoint Viewer | Word Viewer

Follow the Congressional Briefing Series on Twitter,
by following @USGSLive or hashtag #usgscbs.

Speaker Biographies

Brenda Pierce

Brenda Pierce is currently the Program Coordinator of the U.S. Geological Survey Energy Resources Program. She received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in geology from George Washington University. Prior to joining the Energy Resources Program, Brenda was chief of the USGS National Coal Resource Assessment, the first digital assessment of the coal resources of the United States. In the 1990's, Brenda led the Coal Exploration and Resource Assessment of Armenia program, a USAID-funded program to develop a coal research and assessment capability and to explore for coal in Armenia.  Brenda belongs to a number of professional societies, is a board member of various scientific organizations, and is a member of a number of interagency steering committees and working groups.

Bill Leith

Bill Leith is the Senior Science Advisor for Earthquake and Geologic Hazards at the
U.S. Geological Survey.  As the Senior Advisor, he oversees the Earthquake Hazards, Geomagnetism and Global Seismographic Network Programs.  Bill joined the USGS in 1986, after receiving a doctoral degree in seismology and geology from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley. He served as Chief of the USGS Special Geologic Studies Group from 1990 to 2001, as Senior Technical Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance from 2001 to 2003, as the Coordinator of the Advanced National Seismic System from 2003 to 2012, and as USGS Acting Associate Director for National Hazards in 2010-2011. 

Rick Hammack

Rick Hammack is the Natural Systems Monitoring Geological and Environmental Sciences Coordinator for the National Energy Technology Laboratory. He received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Geology (Geochemistry) from West Virginia University He has performed mineral assessments of public lands and developed effective treatments for mining and metallurgical waste waters for the U.S. Bureau of Mines. Among other accomplishments, he also helped to develop technologies for treating and managing produced water from unconventional gas development. Rick currently coordinates multi-agency, baseline environmental studies for monitoring unconventional gas development (including shale gas development with hydraulic fracturing).

Emcee: Harvey Thorleifson

Harvey Thorleifson is the Director of the Minnesota Geological Survey and President Elect of the Association of American State Geologists (AASG). He received his master’s from the University of Manitoba and a Ph.D in geology from the University of Colorado. In his early career, he conducted research on Lake Agassiz, the Great Lakes, and Hudson Bay, other work focused on indicator mineral methods in mineral exploration, geological mapping methods, geochemical mapping, regional groundwater investigations, shoreline erosion, and Red River flooding. He was appointed Director of the Minnesota Geological Survey, State Geologist of Minnesota, and Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Minnesota in July 2003.  He is also Chair for the Minnesota Center for Mineral Resource Education. 

For information on the Briefing on Capitol Hill, please call 703-648-4455.

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