MDEQ Geologist Selected as President of State Geology Board


(JACKSON, Miss.) – James Starnes, a geologist with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), was recently selected as President of the Mississippi State Board of Registered Professional Geologists. Starnes was reappointed by Gov. Tate Reeves in June 2021 to the board for another four-year term and was just elected board president. Starnes serves as Director of the Geologic Mapping and Surface Geology programs housed in the Office of Geology at MDEQ. He has also authored 86 professional geology publications.


“James Starnes has a passion for Mississippi’s unique geology and is an effective ambassador for the state and our agency. In addition to his job duties and research, he regularly interacts with the public handling questions and identifying their fossil, rock, and mineral finds. I know he will serve admirably in this role as president,” said Chris Wells, MDEQ Executive Director.


“We salute James for his appointment to Mississippi Board of Registered Profession Geologists and his selection as president. James has much experience in mapping the geology of the state and represents his profession well,” said David Dockery, State Geologist and Head of MDEQ’s Office of Geology.


The Mississippi State Board of Registered Professional Geologists was created by the Mississippi Legislature and regulates the licensing of geologists in the state. Kristen Sorrell from MDEQ’s Office of Land and Water Resources is also a board member.


Starnes earned a B.S. in Geology from Millsaps College and has been with MDEQ for 23 years. He is originally from San Antonio, Texas, and currently resides in Rankin County with his family.


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