July 30, 2004

Contact: Lynn Bretz, University Relations, (785) 864-8866.

Gov. Sebelius taps KU's Lee Allison for science and energy post in Topeka

LAWRENCE -- Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has asked the University of Kansas to lend M. Lee Allison, director of the Kansas Geological Survey and state geologist since 1999, to her administration on a full-time basis for the next 12 months to serve as policy adviser for science and energy to the governor and the Kansas Energy Council, which Allison chairs.

Allison will step down from his position at KU to devote full time to the new duties beginning Aug. 16 but, in recognition of the importance of the appointment and its relationship to the mission of the KGS, KU will fund his salary during the coming year.

"Dr. Allison's services will help ensure that the Kansas Energy Council is placed on the path to success and that a comprehensive statewide energy plan can be crafted that will benefit all Kansans," said Sebelius. "It is apparent to me that [the council] will need a steady and visionary leader at the helm to guide its efforts during the initial phase of its existence. I believe that Dr. Allison is such a leader."

David Shulenburger, KU provost and executive vice chancellor, said, "The university will miss Allison's leadership, but we are very pleased that Lee has the opportunity to make this important contribution to the state."

Allison was a key figure on the former State Energy Resources Coordination Council, which he chaired from its creation in 2002. In June, Sebelius reconstituted SERCC with a new composition, mission and name by executive order. It will serve as the principal energy policy and planning arm of state government. The council's task is to "collect and compile information pertaining to the energy resources, including wind and biomass, in the state, as well as the availability, production and use of energy in the state." That information will help the council to "formulate and coordinate a comprehensive state energy plan."

"Kansas has changed from a major exporter of energy to a major importer," said Allison. "Last year, SERCC helped identify the magnitude and scope of this problem. Now, we need to move ahead with a plan to ensure a low-cost, reliable and secure energy supply for Kansas. This involves extending the life of existing resources, increasing conservation and efficiency, and developing new sources, such as wind and ethanol and coal-bed gas, and resolving constraints on the state's electric transmission grid. I look forward to being part of this initiative, which will ultimately benefit the whole state and future generations of Kansans."

Allison came to KU from the Utah Geological Survey, where he served as director for 10 years. He was previously with the University of Utah Research Institute and held positions with Standard Oil Production Company, the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Standard Oil of California. His background includes a bachelor's degree from the University of California-Riverside, a master's degree from San Diego State University and a doctorate from the University of Massachusetts, all in geology.

William Harrison, deputy director and chief geologist at KGS, will succeed Allison on an interim basis. A search for a permanent director will begin this fall, according to James Roberts, vice provost for research and president of the KU Center for Research. KGS is a research and service division of KU and reports directly to Roberts.

About the Kansas Geological Survey
Since 1889, the mission of the Kansas Geological Survey has been to conduct geological studies and research and to provide information that results in a better understanding of the geology of Kansas. It places special emphasis on natural resources of economic value, water quality and quantity, and geologic hazards, such as faults and sinkholes. The Survey publishes books and maps on a variety of subjects, as well as computer programs and databases. The main office in Lawrence employs more than 95 researchers and staff and 40 student assistants. A second office is located in Wichita.

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