Wyoming considers adding fossil fuels to school curriculum — with the industry’s help

Wyoming considers adding fossil fuels to school curriculum — with the industry’s help

The state of Wyoming likes the fossil fuel industry. A lot. So much so that it wants to make sure its kids know everything there is to know about energy development. And, so:

State officials and representatives of the energy industry will be asked to develop a course of study focusing on the energy industry and natural resources to be taught in Wyoming schools under a bill approved Thursday by the Legislature’s Joint Education Committee.

The bill, which will now be considered in the Legislature’s general session beginning Jan. 8, is intended to give students more appreciation and knowledge of Wyoming’s resources and opportunities, according to Nick Agopian of Devon Energy, who led an initiative with other energy officials to develop the bill.

This seems kind of unnecessary. About 5 percent of the population of the state of Wyoming works in an extractive industry: mining, oil and gas extraction, logging, etc. After a dip following the recession, that figure is growing steadily, thanks largely to fracking.

Doesn’t it seem likely that with one in 20 Wyomingites working in an extractive field, kids have some understanding of the sector?

Here’s some language from the proposed legislation:

The governor’s policy office shall oversee the development of a statewide initiative on energy and natural resource development and use to provide materials and opportunities for use in public education programs. The initiative shall be a joint effort of representatives from energy and natural resource industries and related member organizations, state education agencies, public education stakeholder representatives and the governor’s policy office and shall focus on the development of a curriculum for use in public school education programs which … [e]nsures a balanced approach to energy and natural resource development and use and ensures subject matter expertise is integrated with the requirements of the statewide educational program prescribed by law

Emphasis added, because that phrase refers to the American Petroleum Institute, et al. Developing curriculum for school kids. Can you imagine?

Or, better: Can you imagine the Fox News Outrage Swarm™ that would result if a state tried to implement a curriculum touting green energy? Literally: imagine it. Imagine what would happen if a state considered a public school curriculum that “ensured a balanced approach” to the use of clean energy, written in part by a solar industry group. Try and come up with the headline that would appear on the Drudge Report, featuring one or all of these words: Indoctrination, Scandal, Taxpayers, Socialism, Nobama.

Luckily, the population of Wyoming is significantly less than the population within a mile radius of where I’m sitting right now. And there’s no guarantee that the state legislature will approve the bill.

If they don’t, Wyoming schoolkids will just have to learn about fossil fuel extraction the traditional way: by drinking fracking chemicals or when their parents’ place of employment explodes.


Wyoming lawmakers OK development of energy curriculum for schools, Casper Star-Tribune

Philip Bump writes about the news for Gristmill. He also uses Twitter a whole lot.

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Wyoming considers adding fossil fuels to school curriculum — with the industry’s help

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