Energy

All of the energy we use comes from the Earth, its atmosphere, or the Sun. Some resources are mined or extracted, like coal, uranium, oil, and gas. Others, like wind, solar, tidal, biomass, and hydropower resources, are harnessed at the Earth’s surface. Geoscientists play an essential role in developing energy resources and evaluating their environmental impacts.

Frequently Asked Questions

American Geosciences Institute
American Geosciences Institute
American Geosciences Institute
American Geosciences Institute

Latest News

The Noble John Sandifer jackup rig
(2017-08-16)
July 12, 2017The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing on July 12 to evaluate the potential development of offshore drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).Earlier in the year, President Donald Trump issued an executive order “...
Natural gas pump
(2017-08-16)
July 6, 2017Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3354 on July 6 to promote energy exploration and development through better management of leasing programs for onshore oil and gas resources and solid mineral resources on federal lands. The Order directs the Bureau of Land...
The July 2017 Cover of GSA Today
(2017-07-11)
The Geological Society of America (GSA) is seeking comment from members on a recently published draft position statement on Geoscience and Energy Policy. The draft statement is available in-full in the July 2017 issue of GSA Today. Starting from the 2016 "Geoscience for America's Critical Needs,"...
U.S. Capitol with flag
(2017-06-09)
May 30, 2017 The Department of Energy (DOE) requests public comments and information regarding the implementation of President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13771, “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs.” Published in the Federal Register on May 30, the DOE’s proposed rule asks for...
Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida Coast
(2017-06-09)
May 4, 2017 On May 4, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the Florida Shores Protection and Fairness Act (S.1041). This bill would extend the current oil and gas leasing ban off Florida’s coast in the Gulf of Mexico from 2022 until 2027. It would also add Florida to the list of states that are...
Atlantic waves
(2017-06-09)
May 1, 2017 On May 10, the Department of the Interior (DOI) announced that it will reconsider applications from ocean seismic survey companies to carry out geological and geophysical activities off the Atlantic coast. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke released Secretarial Order 3350 to further...
The Noble John Sandifer jackup rig
(2017-05-18)
April 28, 2017 President Donald Trump released an executive order targeting the five-year oil and gas leasing plan finalized under the Obama administration. The order, entitled “Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy,” encourages exploration and production on the Outer Continental...
Earth
(2017-05-18)
April 26, 2017 The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Environment held a hearing on April 26 to examine a discussion draft of a bill that would amend certain provisions of the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (NWPA) to streamline management and licensing processes for nuclear waste disposal...
The White House
(2017-04-10)
March 28, 2017 President Donald Trump issued an executive order “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth” on March 28. The order rescinds several environmental regulations instituted under the Obama Administration. It contains provisions that target various energy sectors, including coal...
Natural gas pump
(2017-04-10)
March 15, 2017 On March 15, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) introduced a bill that would authorize more lease sales on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). S.665, the Unleashing American Energy Act of 2017, would enable the Department of the Interior (DOI) to add additional lease sales to an existing...

Case Studies & Factsheets

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the North Slope Borough case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on oil production in Alaska's North Slope Borough can be found here...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Kern County case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on oil production in Kern County, California can be found here. The...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Tarrant and Johnson counties case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on natural gas production in Tarrant and Johnson Counties, Texas can...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the DeSoto Parish case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on natural gas production in DeSoto Parish, Louisiana can be found...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Campbell County case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on coal mining in Campbell County, Wyoming can be found here. The...

Screenshot of the USEITI case studies showing the Boone, Logan and Mingo counties case study highlighted
U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative

The U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (USEITI) has produced a series of case studies on extractive industries across the United States, focusing on coal, copper, gold, iron, natural gas, and oil. The case study on coal mining in West Virginia's Boone, Logan, and Mingo counties...

Fig. 1. Exposure of sandstone capping an economic coal bed. Credit: J. Shaulis, Pennsylvania Geological Survey

Defining the Problem Despite Pennsylvania’s long history as a major coal producer, information on the coal geology (Fig. 1), remaining resources, and extent of past mining is not available for many areas of the state. Such information is critical for present and future coal exploration and...

Research Database Publications

Cover of Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys Annual Report, 2014; Source: Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys
2014, Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys (AK DGGS)
Recently falling commodity prices have brought the state’s reliance on revenue from natural resources to the forefront. Alaska is not immune to national and world events and market changes. Many global commodity prices have fallen from peak values in the recent past to multi-year lows. Recent...
Cover of O96-4 ; Source: Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI)
1996, Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI)
Recent developments in the energy supply of the Pacific Northwest, such as the continuing controversy over the impact of hydro dams on salmon, and the closure of the Trojan nuclear plant suggest that alternative energy sources may become more economically competitive. Although the geothermal...
Cover of ofr20161033; Image credit: U.S. Geological Survey
2016, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
In 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced emissions standards, known as Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), for a range of toxic constituents from coal-fired utility power stations and other combustion sources. This report presents the findings of an expert panel...
Cover of Peat Deposits of North Carolina; Image credit: North Carolina Geological Survey
1987, North Carolina Geological Survey (NCGS)
The petroleum crisis of the early 1970's led to a national reevaluation of alternative energy resources within the United States. One neglected energy resource that is in abundant supply in many parts of the country, including North Carolina, is peat. In addition to its common use as a soil...
Cover of GeologyEconomy2.pdf; Source: American Institute of Professional Geologists
2006, American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG)
The United States depends on many mineral commodities which it once exported. High costs of mining and production, and in certain instances, a lack of local supply, make it more economically sound to import many resources from countries where production is not so expensive. According to the United...
Cover of ofr-15-06; Source: Arizona Geological Survey
2015, Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS)
Hookers Hot Springs is located approximately 70 km (40 miles) east of Tucson, Arizona, and is within the Hookers Hot Springs 7.5’ Quadrangle in the southern Galiuro Mountains. The hot spring itself is on the southwest flank of the wide wash in Hot Springs Canyon, east of the San Pedro River. Water...
Cover image of position paper; Image credit: NGWA
2017, National Ground Water Association (NGWA)
Hydrofracturing of water wells is different than hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas production. While there are some similarities there are many differences, and the two should not be confused with each other. Our concern now is policymakers may unknowingly link the two practices together under...
Cover of PetroleumIssuesandAnswers.pdf ; Image Credit: American Institute of Professional Geologists
1999, American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG)
Petroleum is the principal source of energy in the U.S. and the source of all petrochemicals. It is critical to our national security. to our economic well-being and our life style. The oil and gas industry is the only industry currently prepared to fuel this nation. Dismantlement of this domestic...
Cover of DemystifyingEnergy.pdf; Source: Bureau of Economic Geology
2016, Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG)
Presentation at the PowerSouth trustee’s conference, Destin, Florida, January 28, 2016
Cover of USGS_2015-3054, Source: U.S. Geological Survey
2015, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Using a geology-based assessment methodology, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated mean volumes of undiscovered, technically recoverable resources of 463 million barrels of oil, 11.2 trillion cubic feet of gas, and 35 million barrels of natural gas liquids in the Cherokee Platform Province...