The director of the Kansas University-based Kansas Geological Survey is leaving to take a job with Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' administration.
Lee Allison, director since 1999, will serve as policy adviser for science and energy to the governor and the 2-year-old Kansas Energy Council, which Allison chairs.
"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," Sebelius said. "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."
Sebelius formed the State Energy Resources Coordination Council in 2002, with Allison as chairman. It was renamed the Kansas Energy Council in June. Allison served in a similar capacity on a similar panel for Gov. Bill Graves, Sebelius' predecessor.
The council will serve as the principal energy policy and planning arm of state government, and initially has worked to study the potential of wind energy in the state.
The council also is leading efforts to have a $1 billion coal burning generator built in Kansas. The plant would create no pollution, but leave hydrogen as a byproduct.
"The variety of things to be done is just staggering," Allison said. "And the state has not had a major energy planning arm for decades."
KU will continue to pay Allison's salary for the next year. Last year, he was paid $143,462.
The university said in a news release the arrangement was made with the Governor's Office "in recognition of the importance of the appointment and its relationship to the mission of the (Kansas Geological Survey)."
Before coming to KU, Allison was director of the Utah Geological Survey for 10 years.
William Harrison, deputy director and chief geologist for the Geological Survey, will serve as interim director. KU officials said the search for a replacement would begin this fall.
"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," said David Shulenburger, provost and executive vice chancellor.