We request that you express your support for the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology (NBMG) by writing to members of the Nevada Senate and Assembly, Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education, and Governor Brian Sandoval.

In an effort to meet proposed budget targets, the University of Nevada, Reno announced on March 7th that it plans to cut NBMG’s State funding from $2.1 million per year to $1.0 million, if the funds are available from the State. We believe this is a tragic mistake, because it will mean that Nevada will lose money, miss economic opportunities, and not protect and serve our citizens and visitors as well as we should. NBMG stimulates economic diversification and development in the State, saves lives, and protects property from natural disasters.

NBMG is the statewide research and public service unit that serves as the State geological survey. NBMG’s mission, to provide the State’s needs for geological and energy- and mineral-resource information and research, is defined in its enabling legislation. Established by the Nevada Legislature as a department within the public service division of the Nevada System of Higher Education, NBMG is one of the Statewide Programs at UNR. Although NBMG contributes to the educational mission of UNR through support of numerous graduate and undergraduate students on externally funded research and occasional teaching, NBMG’s main contributions are accomplished through research and dissemination of results. We are supplementing our State funding with approximately $4 million per year in external grants. Nevada stands to annually lose $2 million or more in additional federal grant funding, if NBMG’s State funding is cut by $1.1 million.

NBMG scientists conduct research and publish reports that foster economic development, promote public safety, and improve quality of life in urban and rural areas of Nevada. Some areas of economic development and risk reduction from natural hazards are listed below. The NBMG website, http://www.nbmg.unr.edu/, has links to NBMG publications and services.  The latest NBMG biennial report, http://www.nbmg.unr.edu/dox/of1014.pdf, provides details on what we have accomplished recently, and Appendix B of the report lists the statutory mandates for NBMG.

We ask that you contact Legislators, Regents, and the Governor to express, from your perspective on the benefits of NBMG to the State, your support for NBMG. One option that should be considered is dedicating some of the Net Proceeds of Minerals tax to support NBMG. With the revenue from this tax likely to rise with increasing mineral and energy production, the State could benefit tremendously from dedicating a portion of this revenue to support NBMG.

We would appreciate receiving a copy of your letter or e-mail of support by March 23, because it may help us in our internal response to UNR’s proposed cut.


Jonathan G. Price 
State Geologist and Director, Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology
E-mail: jprice@unr.edu                                
Telephone: 775-784-6691 extension 5


·         Mining

o   NBMG maps, publications, and data sets have played a critical role in Nevada’s current gold-mining boom, the largest in the history of the Americas.

o   NBMG-supported mapping led to the discovery of the Carlin Gold deposit in 1961.  Since then, Nevada has produced over $230B in gold and silver at today’s prices, providing high-paying jobs for tens of thousands of Nevadans.

o   Many mineral deposits are still to be found in Nevada, especially under volcanic and gravel cover.  These difficult-to-find deposits will heavily rely on data made available by NBMG.  Estimates of the value of these deposits range up to $1.2 trillion.

·         Geothermal

o   NBMG scientists have played a critical role in Nevada’s booming geothermal energy.

o   NBMG’s work on the fault control on locations of geothermal systems, shallow temperature surveys, and water chemistry from springs stimulated companies to find new geothermal resources and develop new power plants.

o   NBMG’s estimate of Nevada’s potential indicates geothermal power can produce >35% of Nevada’s energy needs, potentially making the geothermal industry a billion-dollar-a-year business.

·         Earthquakes

o   NBMG scientists helped document the magnitude 6.0 earthquake near Wells and the 4.7 the Mogul swarm of earthquake in west Reno.

o   NBMG distributed information on earthquake safety before the largest earthquake in the Mogul swarm, likely saving millions of dollars of damage.

o   NBMG’s computer simulations of earthquakes indicates a major earthquake in Las Vegas or Reno-Carson City areas, like ones that have occurred in the geological past, could cause hundreds of fatalities and billions of dollars of damage, if we are not prepared.

o   NBMG’s continued work on locating active faults, mapping areas of potential liquefaction and landslides, measuring stresses with geodetic instruments, and informing the public of hazards will save lives.

·         Geologic Mapping

o   NBMG’s geologic maps play critical roles in resource development, hazard mitigation, and urban planning.

o   The value of geologic mapping in cost savings to developers and planners is up to almost 40 times the cost of the mapping.

o   NBMG estimates that 80% of Nevada lacks modern geologic mapping.

·         Education

o   NBMG scientists educate the Nevada public in how geology affects their lives by leading field trips, giving presentations, especially to students, and training teachers.

o   NBMG scientists help train Nevada professionals by leading field trips and giving workshops.

o   NBMG scientists train UNR students by teaching classes and funding and supervising graduate student research.  These students, many of whom are from outside Nevada, get high-paying jobs in Nevada and pay taxes.

In addition to letters you write, please visit NBMG’s Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nevada-Bureau-of-Mines-and-Geology/106397989390… and Blog (http://nbmg.posterous.com/) to post your support.


The Nevada Legislature’s website, http://www.leg.state.nv.us/, has a link to “Who’s My Legislator?” at http://mapserve.leg.state.nv.us/website/lcb/viewer.htm, where you can enter a street address and zip code.  Lists of members of the Nevada Assembly, http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Assembly/Current/Assembly/alist.cfm, and Senate,

http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Senate/Current/Senators/slist.cfm, are also available on the web.

The website of the Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education, http://system.nevada.edu/Board-of-R/Bios/index.htm, lists names, mailing addresses, and e-mail addresses for each Regent. 

The Governor can be reached at the following address and telephone number:

The Honorable Governor Brian Sandoval
Capitol Building
Carson City, NV 89701

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