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RULE §851.10Definitions

The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

  (1) Act--Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 1002, cited as the Texas Geoscience Practice Act.

  (2) Accredited institutions or programs--An institution or program which holds accreditation or candidacy status from an accreditation organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or other appropriate accrediting entity accepted by the Appointed Board.

  (3) Address of record--In the case of an individual or Firm licensed, certified, or registered by the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists (TBPG), the address which is filed by the licensee with the TBPG.

  (4) Advertising or Advertisement--Any non-commercial or commercial message, including, but not limited, to verbal statements, bids, web pages, signage, provider listings, and paid advertisement that promotes geoscience services.

  (5) Applicant--An individual making application for a Professional Geoscientist (P.G.) license or a Geoscientist-in-Training (GIT) certification or a firm and/or the Authorized Official of a Firm making application for a Geoscience Firm (Firm) registration.

  (6) Application--The forms, information, attachments, and fees necessary to obtain a license as a Professional Geoscientist, the registration of a Firm, or a certification as a Geoscientist-in-Training (GIT).

  (7) Appointed Board--Those persons who are appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate and qualify for office who may deliberate, vote, and be counted as a member in attendance of the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists.

  (8) ASBOG®--Association of State Boards of Geology. ASBOG® serves as a connective link among the individual state geology regulatory boards for the planning and preparation of uniform procedures and the coordination of geologic protective measures for the general public. One of ASBOG®'s principal services is to develop standardized written examinations for determining qualifications of applicants seeking licensure as professional geologists. State boards of registration are provided with uniform examinations that are valid measures of competency related to the practice of the profession.

  (9) Authorized Official of a Firm (AOF)--The individual designated by a Geoscience Firm to be responsible for submitting the application to TBPG for the initial registration of the Firm; ensuring that the Firm maintains compliance with the registration requirements; ensuring that the Firm renews its registration status for as long as the Firm offers or provides professional geoscience services; ensuring that the designated geoscientist is a currently licensed P.G.; and communicating with the TBPG regarding any matter.

  (10) Board staff--The Executive Director and all other staff employed by the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists (administrative, investigative, and other support staff, etc.).

  (11) Cheating--Attempting to obtain, obtaining, providing, or using answers to examination questions by deceit, fraud, dishonesty, or deception.

  (12) Complainant--Any individual who has submitted a complaint to the TBPG, as provided in this chapter.

  (13) Complaint--An allegation or allegations of wrongful activity related to the practice or offering of professional geoscience services in Texas. A complaint is within the TBPG's jurisdiction if the complaint alleges a violation of statutes or rules applicable to the public practice of geoscience or the requirements of licensure of a Professional Geoscientist (P.G.) or registration by an individual, firm, or other legal entity.

  (14) Council of Soil Scientist Examiners (CSSE)--The Council of Soil Science Examiners is a national organization that creates, scores and maintains examinations for State Soil Scientists regulatory programs. CSSE develops professional criteria to confirm that individuals meet and exceed minimum qualifications to practice the profession.

  (15) Default--The failure of the Respondent to respond in writing to a notice or appear in person or by legal representative on the day and at the time set for hearing in a contested case or informal conference, or the failure to appear by telephone, e-mail, fax or other electronic media in accordance with the notice of hearing or notice of informal conference. Default results in the actions being taken that were described in the notice of the hearing for a contested case or informal conference in the event of a failure to appear.

  (16) Digital Signature--A digital authentication attached to, or clearly associated with, an electronic document. A digital signature that meets the requirements of board rules carries the same weight, authority, and effects as an original signature.

  (17) Direct supervision--Critical watching, evaluating, and directing of geoscience activities with the authority to review, enforce, and control compliance with all geoscience criteria, specifications, and procedures as the work progresses. Direct supervision will consist of an acceptable combination of: exertion of significant control over the geoscience work, regular personal presence, reasonable geographic proximity to the location of the performance of the work, and an acceptable employment relationship with the supervised individual(s).

  (18) Discipline--One of three recognized courses of study under which an individual may qualify for a license as a Professional Geoscientist. Geoscience is comprised of the following disciplines: geology, geophysics, and soil science.

  (19) Executive Director--The individual appointed by the Appointed Board who shall be responsible for managing the day to day affairs of the board, in accordance with the Act.

  (20) Filed date--The date that the document has been received by the TBPG or, if the document has been mailed to the TBPG, the postmark date of the document.

  (21) Geology--The discipline of geoscience that addresses the science of the origin, composition, structure, and history of the Earth and its constituent soils, rocks, minerals, fossil fuels, solids, fluids and gases, and the study of the natural and introduced agents, forces, and processes that cause changes in and on the Earth, and is applied with judgment to develop ways to utilize, economically, those natural and introduced agents, forces, and processes for the benefit of mankind. There are many subdivisions of geology, which include, but are not limited to, the following: historical geology, physical geology, economic geology, mineralogy, paleontology, structural geology, mining geology, petroleum geology, physiography, geomorphology, geochemistry, hydrogeology, petrography, petrology, volcanology, stratigraphy, engineering geology, and environmental geology.

  (22) Geophysics--Refers to that science which involves the study of the physical Earth by means of measuring its natural and induced fields of force, and its responses to natural and induced energy or forces, the interpretation of these measurements, applied with judgment to benefit or protect the public.

  (23) Geoscience--The science of the Earth and its origin and history, the investigation of the Earth's environment and its constituent soils, rocks, minerals, fossil fuels, solids, and fluids, and the study of the natural and introduced agents, forces, and processes that cause changes in and on the Earth as applied with professional judgment to develop ways to utilize, those natural and introduced agents, forces, and processes for the benefit of the public.

  (24) Geoscience Firm (Firm)--A firm, corporation, or other business entity that engages in or offers to engage in the practice of professional geoscience before the public in the State of Texas and that is registered by the board to engage in the public practice of geoscience.

  (25) Geoscience services (also professional geoscience services, and professional geoscience)--Services that must be performed by or under the direct supervision of a Professional Geoscientist and that meet the definition of the practice of geoscience as defined in the Texas Occupations Code, §1002.002(3). A service shall be conclusively considered a professional geoscience service if it is delineated in that section; other services requiring a Professional Geoscientist by contract, or services where the adequate performance of that service requires a geoscience education, training, or experience in the application of special knowledge or judgment of the geological, geophysical or soil sciences to that service shall also be conclusively considered a professional geoscience service. These services may include consulting, investigating, evaluating, analyzing, planning, mapping, and inspecting geoscientific work, and the responsible supervision of those tasks.

  (26) License--The legal authority granted the holder to actively practice geoscience upon meeting the requirements as set out in the Act and this chapter.

  (27) License certificate--Any certificate issued by the TBPG showing that a license, registration, or certificate has been granted by the TBPG. A certificate is not valid unless it is accompanied by a card issued by the TBPG that shows the expiration date of the license, registration or certification.

  (28) License status--The status of a Professional Geoscientist license, Geoscience Firm registration, or GIT certification is one of the following:

    (A) Current license--A license, registration, or certification that has not expired.

    (B) Expired license--A Professional Geoscientist license that has been expired for less than three years and is therefore renewable, or a Geoscience Firm registration or GIT certification that has been expired for less than one year and is therefore renewable.

    (C) Permanently expired license--A license, registration, or certification that is no longer renewable.

  (29) Licensee--An individual or other entity holding a current Professional Geoscientist license, GIT certificate, or Firm registration.

  (30) Meritless complaint--a complaint in which the allegations are unfounded or groundless (no legitimate basis for the allegation) or the allegations are unsubstantiated or unverified (no determination could be made as to whether there was any basis for the allegation).

  (31) Non-jurisdictional complaint--a complaint in which the TBPG has no jurisdiction over the alleged conduct.

  (32) Person--Any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, association, or other legal public or private entity, including a state agency or governmental subdivision.

  (33) Professional Geoscientist or P.G.--An individual who holds a license as a Professional Geoscientist issued by the TBPG.

  (34) Practice for the public--

    (A) Providing professional geoscience services:

      (i) For a governmental entity in Texas;

      (ii) To comply with a rule established by the State of Texas or a political subdivision of the State of Texas; or

      (iii) For the public or a firm or corporation in the State of Texas if the practitioner accepts ultimate liability for the work product; and

    (B) Does not include services provided for the express use of a firm or corporation by an employee or consultant if the firm or corporation assumes the ultimate liability for the work product.

  (35) The Public--Any individual(s), client(s), business or public entities, or any member of the general population whose normal course of life might reasonably include an interaction of any sort with or be impacted by professional geoscience services.

  (36) Registered Firm--A firm that is currently registered with the TBPG.

  (37) Registrant--An individual whose sole-proprietorship is currently registered with the TBPG or a firm that is currently registered with the TBPG.

  (38) Respondent--Any individual or firm, licensed or unlicensed, who has been charged with violating any provision of the Act or a rule or order issued by the Appointed Board.

  (39) Responsible charge--The independent control and direction of geoscience services or the supervision of geoscience services by the use of initiative, skill, and independent judgment.

  (40) Rule or Board Rule--State agency rules adopted by the Appointed Board and as published in the Texas Administrative Code, Title 22, Part 39, Chapters 850 and 851.

  (41) Soil Science--Soil science means the science of soils, their classification, origin and history, the investigation and interpretation of physical, chemical, morphological, and biological characteristics of the soil including, among other things, their ability to produce vegetation and the fate and movement of physical, chemical, and biological contaminants.

  (42) Sole practitioner--An individual Professional Geoscientist who operates a geoscience business and who is in responsible charge of all geoscience work performed by or for the business.

  (43) TBPG--The Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists, as used in this chapter, is a reference to the whole or any part of the entity that is the Texas Board of Professional Geoscientists.

Source Note: The provisions of this §851.10 adopted to be effective October 31, 2002, 27 TexReg 10028; amended to be effective January 8, 2008, 33 TexReg 185; amended to be effective December 15, 2010, 35 TexReg 10695; amended to be effective January 1, 2014, 38 TexReg 9368; amended to be effective December 11, 2014, 39 TexReg 9539; amended to be effective March 18, 2015, 40 TexReg 1384; amended to be effective March 15, 2016, 41 TexReg 1843; amended to be effective September 25, 2017, 42 TexReg 5143; amended to be effective October 31, 2018, 43 TexReg 7140; amended to be effective March 6, 2022, 47 TexReg 947; amended to beeffective June 14, 2023, 48 TexReg 2965

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