President Bush has nominated Mark Myers, former Alaska State Geologist, to be the director of the U.S. Geological Survey, the White House announced May 3.

Myers also had been director of Alaska's division of oil and gas but he was one of six state Dept. of Natural Resources officials who resigned their positions last October. In his Oct. 27 letter of resignation to Gov. Frank Murkowski (R), Myers cited the departure of department Commissioner Tom Irwin and "the position the administration has taken in negotiations regarding a North Slope gas pipeline." He added, "I adamantly disagree with the administration's current position on gasline negotiations."

The state DNR said in an Oct. 27 statement that Irwin and Murkowski "concluded that it is time for a new commissioner to head the department." The statement said Irwin and the resigning officials would have no comment about their resignations for "the foreseeable future."

Before assuming the Alaska posts, Myers was the senior staff geologist for exploration with ARCO Alaska Inc. and Phillips Alaska Inc., the White House said.

If the Senate confirms Myers, he would succeed P. Patrick Leahy, who has been USGS acting director since June 2005. Leahy, USGS associate director for geology, was named the survey's acting chief after Charles Groat resigned to return to the University of Texas at Austin. Groat had held the top USGS post from November 1998 to June 2005.

Myers has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. from the University of Alaska.