Environmental issues center of Inland Northwest Research Alliance 4th Annual Symposium

09/21/04

The former Secretary of Interior, Bruce Babbitt, addressed the importance of science and how it relates to politics within the Pacific Northwest and the U.S., during the opening session of the fourth annual Inland Northwest Research Alliance Environmental and Subsurface Science Symposium in Spokane, WA.

"We understand the issues and what needs to be done, even if our leaders do not," said Babbitt, referring to the environment and the government's position on such things as climate change, the greenhouse effect and the important relationship between ground water and surface water.

The fourth annual symposium highlighted natural resource issues that are part of every day debates in the Pacific Northwest. Other topics included national and international research conducted in the areas of environmental science and subsurface science as they relate to the areas of energy, nuclear and national security technologies. The symposium gave the students and policy makers in attendance a forum for discussing research while providing valuable networking possibilities.

Education and the importance of various courses and disciplines within environmental and subsurface science and what students should focus on to meet tomorrow's business needs was the focus of Evan Nyer's presentation entitled, Five Small Steps for Hydrogeologists to Take Over the World (of Remediation). Nyer, a leading hydrogeologist and senior vice-president of ARCADIS G & M, Tampa, FL., has developed strategies, technical designs and led the installation of more than 400 groundwater and soil remediation systems across the U.S.

Dr. James Tate, Jr., the current senior science advisor for Secretary of Interior Gale Norton, outlined the current administration's mission for the department. He stressed while science is at the foundation of the Interior Department's strategic plan, other factors such as traditional ecological knowledge, public desire, laws and regulations also play a factor. He encouraged the graduate students in the audience – working to become future scientists - to keep abreast with the latest issues regarding a number of different Interior Department opportunities.

The level of research being conducted and presented at the symposium provides an excellent mix of science professionals and government agencies working toward furthering the environmental agenda relating to energy, nuclear and national security issues.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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