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2018 Earth Science Achievement Awards

The 2018 New Mexico Earth Science Achievement Awards were presented to Senator Jeff Bingaman and to Dr. Bob Simon. The presentation (see text) was at noon, Monday, February 5, in the rotunda of the state capitol building, which coincided with Earth Science/New Mexico Tech Day at the Roundhouse. New Mexico Tech academic and research divisions, as well as state agencies, staffed tables and displays on the ground floor of the Roundhouse. The public was invited to visit the Roundhouse throughout the day and to attend the ceremony.

2018 ESAA Award recipients
2018 ESAA Award recipients Dr. Bob Simon (left) and Senator Jeff Bingaman (right) with Dr. Nelia Dunbar (Director - NMBGMR & State Geologist)

Created in 2003, the Earth Science Achievement Awards are for “outstanding contributions advancing the role of earth science in areas of public service and public policy.” These awards honor outstanding public servants who have championed earth science issues in New Mexico.

2018 ESAA Award recipient: Senator Jeff Bingaman
Senator Jeff Bingaman (right) with Dr. Nelia Dunbar
2018 ESAA Award recipient: Dr. Bob Simon
Dr. Bob Simon (left) with Dr. Nelia Dunbar

Senator Bingaman and Dr. Simon consistently supported the fundamental concept that basic scientific knowledge is essential in order to solve our complex resource and environmental issues. The records of both men show an understanding of the importance of water supply and water quality issues and a respect for responsible resource development and environmental preservation of areas of special value and interest. They also understand that scientific knowledge is the foundation for the wise management of our nation’s lands and its resources.

Their combined efforts, along with those of other Bingaman and committee staff, helped to enact a number of important pieces of geoscience-focused legislation, including ones supporting national geological mapping, archiving of valuable geological data, studying the high plains aquifer, and forming an institute in New Mexico to study caves and karst geology. These efforts also led to designation of geologic parks, such as the Valles Caldera National Preserve and Kasha Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument.

Jeff Bingaman was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1982, where he served until his retirement in 2013. From 1999-2013, Bingaman served as chair or the ranking member of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, where he championed significant earth science legislation for New Mexico and for the nation.

Dr. Bob Simon began working in the U.S. Senate in 1993 as a Science Fellow on the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, where he served for three years. In 1997, he became Science and Technology advisor in Jeff Bingaman’s office, and served as his chief energy legislative assistant.  In 1999, Senator Bingaman appointed him to the position of Democratic staff director for the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, where he served as the full committee staff director when Senator Bingaman was chairman. After Senator Bingaman’s retirement, Dr. Simon moved to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, where he worked on energy, climate, and resource issues until his retirement in 2016.

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. For 91 years the bureau has served as the geological survey for the state of New Mexico.

Nominations for next year's awards are welcome from the general public and may be made directly to the director of the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources.

Past Recipients

(more about the ESAA)