Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation
Board for Professional Soil Scientists, Wetland Professionals, and Geologists
Regulations for the Geology Certification Program [18 VAC 145 ‑ 40]
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8/1/23  12:58 pm
Commenter: James Emery-Emery & Garrett Groundwater Investigations a Division of GZA

Why the Certification of Professional Geologists is critical to the wellbeing of Virginia.

I write this not because I enjoy paying fees to be a Professional Geologist or that I enjoy having to do additional training and study to enhance my education/knowledge of geological and hydrogeological subject matters, but because it is a technical and moral responsibility of the profession we practice. This applies to all facets of the professional geologist (whether it be geotechnical, mining, environmental, or water related).  For example, in my world as a hydrogeologist, I/we need to stay current on the various emerging contaminants (e.g., PFAS compounds, arsenic, lead, 1,4 dioxane etc.) that adversely impair our drinking water supplies or environment. What we do and the decisions we make impacts the safety of the public who most often have no idea what can harm them or improve their lives. Becoming a certified professional Geologist sets the bar high for being qualified to do our work. This is very similar to a lawyer's certification passing the bar exam, or a doctor passing his medical exams and getting medical training (through residency) before becoming a certified doctor. In some way the impacts that a professional geologist can have on society exceed that of a doctor and /or lawyer who often practice their crafts/skills on only single individuals. The PG's (and PE's) most often practice their skills in ways that impact entire communities, towns, and cities. One decision that a PG makes can impact 100,000's of people's lives. This is not something that should ever be accomplished by a non-certified individual. I believe that the state of Virginia would be making a grave mistake if they lowered the qualification of individuals practicing in these professional and critically important fields.

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