University of Texas at Austin names director of U.S. Geological Survey to head new policy center on energy & environment

AUSTIN, Texas—Dr. Charles G. Groat, director of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) since 1998, has been appointed founding director of a new public policy center at The University of Texas at Austin focusing on energy and the environment.

The Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy will support research informing governments and corporations worldwide on the formulation of policies and strategies on energy and the environment. Three schools at the university will sponsor the center and co-hire its researchers: the Jackson School of Geosciences, the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the College of Engineering.

In addition to directing the center, Groat will become the Jackson Chair in Energy and Mineral Resources at the Jackson School and will lead the university’s Energy and Mineral Resources graduate program within the Jackson School and the College of Engineering.

Groat’s principal academic appointment will be in the Department of Geological Sciences of the Jackson School. He will hold courtesy appointments in the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering.

Throughout his career, Groat has bridged academic pursuits with public policy. Before directing USGS, he held top posts in the geosciences at three universities, including The University of Texas at Austin, where he was associate professor and acting director of the Bureau of Economic Geology. He was later director of the Louisiana State Geological Survey and assistant to the Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. From 1990-92 he was executive director of the American Geological Institute.

“We are extremely lucky to get Dr. Groat,” said Dr. William Fisher, director of the Jackson School. “He’s an academic who knows how to get things done at the national level, and who understands public policy in one of the most pressing areas facing the world today, the crossroads between energy and the environment.”

One of Groat’s first tasks will be to recruit six outstanding new professors with skills in public affairs, engineering and geosciences who can lay the foundation for one of the academic world’s major centers on energy and environmental studies.

In a written statement, Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton had high praise for Groat, saying she could not overstate his positive impact on the USGS and its contributions to science under his leadership. Groat’s resignation from the USGS, submitted to President Bush, is effective June 17.

For more information contact: J.B. Bird, 512-232-9623.