January 28, 2015

Wyoming House Votes To End Ban On Teaching Climate Science As Settled Science

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January 26th, 2015 | National Journal | Clare Foran

The National Journal reports that Wyoming’s House of Representatives voted this week to repeal the ban on the discussion of new science standards, including the idea that climate change is largely caused by human activity. That same bill now goes to the Senate for review.

If passed, this legislation would not adopt the Next Generation Science Standards but would provide funding for the Wyoming State Board of Education to discuss adoption. That funding was taken away last March in the form of a budget footnote.

These standards are controversial for two reasons. First, many Wyoming lawmakers and citizens believe that these sort of decisions should be made on the local level, school district by school district. Secondly, Wyoming is a big energy state: around 75 percent of its revenue comes from extracting coal, oil and gas. So the idea that climate change is caused by human activity, especially the burning of fossil fuels, threatens the industry and therefore the state budget.

So far, 12 states, plus the District of Columbia have adopted the standards. For more context, check out Leigh Paterson’s report on climate change science as a campaign issue in the 2014 midterm elections.