Dr. Peter Folger, Specialist in Energy and Natural Resources Policy for the Congressional Research Service (CRS) of the Library of Congress, is the 2020 recipient of the AGI Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Public Understanding of the Geosciences. Through his work at CRS, Dr. Folger has worked to support greater public understanding of the geosciences. Those endeavors begin with a congressional request that often is published for wide distribution beyond the halls of Congress. Dr. Folger’s work represents a sound, unbiased, apolitical scientific approach that has been used by citizens and policymakers both domestically and internationally. At least one key piece of legislation was directly influenced by his large body of written work, which resulted in a strengthened public law at the end of the policymaking process. As a consequence of Dr. Folger’s applied expertise on carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 authorized CCS efforts at the U.S. Department of Energy and has funded upwards of $4 billion in CCS research.
In addition to CCS, Dr. Folger’s service at CRS has included work on natural hazards, water resources, climate change, federal geospatial policy, and additional natural resource issues such as shale gas, methane hydrates, and uranium. He began work at CRS in 2006 after eight years with the American Geophysical Union (AGU), where he was Director of Outreach and Research Support.
Prior to working at AGU, Dr. Folger served as a geological engineering consultant in the Denver area working on groundwater remediation and water supply problems in Colorado and the Midwest. He also was a Senior Fellow with the Center for the New West in Denver, serving as a specialist for natural resources, energy, and environmental issues affecting the free-market economy of the West. He worked as a Congressional Science Fellow for one year in the office of Senator Pete V. Domenici of New Mexico, where he was responsible for energy, natural resource, and science policy issues. Prior to the fellowship, he was Manager of the Geochemical Programs Group at the Rocky Flats Plant, responsible for aspects of environmental monitoring and remediation. He also worked for the AMAX mining company as a mineral exploration geologist prospecting for precious metal deposits in Nevada and Montana. Dr. Folger additionally is a Natural Resources Scholar at Georgetown University's Program on Science in the Public Interest. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, master’s from the University of Montana, and Ph.D. from the Colorado School of Mines.