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2010 Earth Science Achievement Awards

ESSA Award Recipients
Presentation of the 2010 Earth Science Achievement Award: (from left to right) Jon Goldstein—EMNRD Cabinet Secretary, award recipient Dr. Gary King—Attorney General, Dr. Peter Scholle—Emeritus NM State Geologist, and award recipient Dr. Bruce Thomson—UNM Water Resources Program Director and Regents Professor .

On February 4, the 2010 New Mexico Earth Science Achievement Awards were presented to Dr. Gary King, for outstanding contributions advancing the role of earth science in areas of public service and public policy in New Mexico, and to Dr. Bruce Thomson, for outstanding contributions advancing the role of earth science in areas of applied science and education in New Mexico.

These awards, co-sponsored by the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, a division of New Mexico Tech in Socorro, and the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (EMNRD) in Santa Fe, were initiated in 2003 to honor those often unrecognized champions of earth science issues vital to the future of New Mexico. Selections were made following a statewide nomination process.

The presentations, which occurred at noon in the rotunda of the state capitol building on February 4 during the legislative session, were made by Jon Goldstein, cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, and by Dr. Peter Scholle, Emeritus State Geologist and Director of the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources.

Public Policy & Service

Gary King has long been a champion of natural resource protection and environmental issues. A native New Mexican from Stanley, Gary King holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Colorado and a law degree from the University of New Mexico. He worked in an environmental consulting firm, and was assistant secretary for environmental management at the U.S. Department of Energy. He served for twelve years in the New Mexico State Legislature. During this time, he sponsored a bill that would establish a mining reclamation law in New Mexico for the first time. Several bills had been introduced in previous legislative sessions to address this hotly debated issue, but all had failed. After much negotiation, Dr. King’s bill passed and became the 1993 New Mexico Mining Act. The Mining Act established the New Mexico Mining Commission to adopt regulations and act as an appellate body for the mine permitting program. Dr. King served as a commissioner and chairman of the Mining Commission. In 2006 he was elected Attorney General of New Mexico, where he continues his tireless efforts.

Research & Education

Bruce Thomson is director of the University of New Mexico Water Resources program and a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering, where he now serves as Regents Professor. He has served on the faculty since 1978. His research is focused on the chemistry and treatment of inorganic contaminants in ground water, especially arsenic and uranium.  Recent research projects have been directed toward issues associated with reuse of treated waste water.  He has served on several local, state, and national committees dealing with water issues, including ten years of service on the Water Quality Protection Advisory Board, which reports to the City of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County, and the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority.  He is a licensed professional engineer in New Mexico

The New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources is a non-regulatory research and service division of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro that has served as the geological survey for the state of New Mexico since 1927. EMNRD provides resource protection, recreation, and resource development services to the public and other state agencies.

Nominations for next year's awards are welcome from the general public.

- See past award recipients -