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Science Textbooks Not Safe from Oil and Gas Industry


TextbookA Texas watchdog group is calling out supporters of the oil and gas industry for attempting to disrupt the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) vote on which science textbooks will be used in the state’s schools.

The SBOE has been painstakingly deciding what textbooks to approve. Much of the debate, and news focusing on the debate, has centered on creationism, but on Wednesday, just two days before the final vote, oil and gas industry advocates pressured the board to throw to the wayside the only environmental science book that was in the running for approval. The Texas Freedom Network , an activist group focusing on civil liberties, called attention to this political move.

Becky Berger, an oil and gas professional who also happens to be a geologist, testified Wednesday at a textbook hearing that the book contained factual errors on topics like fracking and the causes of climate change.  Most likely, Berger had an agenda. She is running for Texas Railroad Commissioner. If she wins, she’ll be at the forefront of regulating the state’s oil and gas industry.

Environmental groups point to this move as evidence it is for special interest groups in the 11th hour to hijack the textbook adoption process in Texas. No previous review panels had any issues with the textbook.

Thankfully, in a preliminary vote on Thursday night, the SBOE decided to approve the textbook but is requiring the publisher to make minor changes to several facts the board found to be outdated. None of the changes will downplay climate change.

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