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house Bill H.R. 318

Should a Federal Program for Producing Advanced Geologic Maps be Extended?

Argument in favor

Accurate geologic maps allow better natural resource management, urban planning, and the education of future generations of mappers. Given that over two-thirds of the U.S. remains inadequately mapped, it’s important to keep funding the NCGMP to support mapping efforts.

Argument opposed

Accurate geologic maps may serve many uses, but the federal government doesn’t need to continue its involvement in a collaborative project with states and universities to produce them. Those states and universities should take on the full responsibility.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Natural Resources
      Energy and Mineral Resources
    IntroducedJanuary 8th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 318?

This bill would extend the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program (NCGMP) through fiscal year 2023, and provide $64 million a year to carry it out.. The NCGMP is a federal program that brings federal, state, and university resources together to produce advanced digital geologic maps and three-dimensional models across the U.S.

It would also transfer the role of Chairman of the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGIS) 16-person geologic mapping advisory committee from the Associate Director for Geology to the Associate Director for Core Science Systems, reflecting a change in the organization of the USGIS. The mapping advisory committee advises the USGIS Director with regard to the planning and implementation of the mapping program.


Geologic mapping; U.S. Geological Survey; National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program; National Geologic Mapping Act of 1992; USGIS Associate Director for Geology; and USGIS Associate Director for Core Science Systems.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 318

$64.00 Million
The CBO estimates that implementing this bill would cost $246 million over the 2019-2023 period, at an annual cost of $64 million.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) reintroduced this bill from the 115th Congress to reauthorize the National Geologic Mapping Act of 1992, which is a national partnership to produce advanced digital geologic maps and three-dimensional models:

“This legislation ensures continued collaboration between the U.S. Geological Survey, state surveys, and universities to ensure responsible use natural resources and to mitigate the impact of geologic hazards. Forty-nine states and Puerto Rico have participated to date, resulting in 8,500 new maps. Those of us on the Natural Resources Committee are working to produce the most efficient bill possible. We realize the importance this carries for many land, water, and mineral resources across the nation. The program data routinely impacts decisions protecting ground water, locating new municipal wells, identifying potential mineral resources, and protecting homeowners from geologic hazards in my home state of Colorado. Renewing the Act will solve a broad spectrum of land-use concerns.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who is the sponsor of the Senate version of this bill, adds that much of the U.S. has yet to be mapped in detail:

“We don’t have a detailed geologic map for even one-third of the United States, yet it lays the foundation for minimizing risks from natural hazards and is the linchpin to reducing our nation’s dependence on foreign minerals. Reauthorizing this widely-supported program will help ensure responsible land management and provide the tools required to educate our next generation of mappers.”

Funds spent under the National Geological Mapping Act’s mapping program seem to reap significant benefits. An assessment of the economic benefits of detailed geologic mapping in Kentucky and Illinois estimated that the economic return to Kentucky was 25-39 times the cost of the program. It also found that geologic maps in Kentucky benefitted many end users, including city planners, coal and other mineral resource developers, water users, and others. Similarly, in Ohio, developers and engineers using geologic maps saved an average of $50,000 on each project.

This bill has two cosponsors in the current Congress. Last Congress, it passed the House with the support of one cosponsor, Rep. Anthony Brown (D-MD).

There is a Senate version of this bill, sponsored by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), which costs slightly more than this version ($310 million over the 2019-2023 period, versus $246 million over the same period for this bill). Sen. Murkowski’s bill has the support of nine cosponsors, including four Democrats, four Republicans, and one Independent.

Of NoteAt its inception, the National Geological Mapping Act of 1992 was intended to reverse the decline of geologic mapping in the U.S. by establishing a National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program (NCGMP). The Act specifically cites several applications of the data obtained from geologic maps: mineral, energy and water resource exploration; toxic and nuclear waste disposal; environmental land use planning; decreasing the impact of a multitude of natural hazards; constructing and maintaining infrastructure; and geoscience research.

Today, the NCGMP is a partnership between state governments, the federal government, and universities. It provides the majority of funds for the production of geologic maps in the U.S. NCGMP-funded entities collaborate to manage data collection and create and distribute geologic maps and three-dimensional framework models.

The maps produced under the National Geological Mapping Act of 1992 contribute to responsible land management across the U.S., mitigate natural hazards, foster economic growth, and provide tools to educate the next generation of mappers.


Summary by Lorelei Yang
(Photo Credit: / PaulCowan)


National Geologic Mapping Act Reauthorization Act

Official Title

To reauthorize the National Geologic Mapping Act of 1992.

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