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How ALEC is Destroying the Teaching of Climate Change Science, One State at a Time

Tennessee just became the fourth state in the nation to include climate change denial in their science education curriculum. Who's behind this crafty legislation? You guessed it.

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The bill was opposed by a broad-based coalition, including the National Association of Biology Teachers, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee, the American Institute for Biological Sciences, the Knoxville News Sentinel, the Nashville Tennessean, the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the National Earth Science Teachers Association, the Tennessee Science Teachers Association, and all eight Tennessee members of the National Academy of Sciences.

These voices of reason were no opposition to ALEC, its corporate backers, and the politicians who serve them, which saw the bill pass with little opposition whatsoever. 

A Review: Bill Written By and For Corporate Polluters

We wrote this back in January:

"The money paper trail for this ALEC model bill runs deep, to put it bluntly. 

When the ALEC model bill was adopted in 2000 by ALEC's Natural Resources Task Force, the head of that committee was Sandy Liddy Bourne, who after that stint, became Director of Legislation and Policy for ALEC. She is now with the Heartland Institute as vice-president for policy strategy. In Sandy Liddy Bourne's bio on the Heartland website, she boasts that "Under her leadership, 20 percent of ALEC model bills were enacted by one state or more, up from 11 percent." 

SourceWatch states that Liddy Bourne '…is the daughter of former Nixon aide and convicted Watergate criminal G. Gordon Liddy, who spent more than 52 months in prison for his part in the Watergate burglary…[and her] speech at the Heartland Institute's 2008 International Conference on Climate Change was titled, ' The Kyoto Legacy; The Progeny of a Carbon Cartel in the States.'

The Heartland Institute (of Heartland Exposed infamy) was formerly heavily funded by ExxonMobil and Koch Industries, just like ALEC was at the time that Liddy Bourne's committee devised the ' Environmental Literacy Improvement Act.' These two corporations are infamous for their funding of climate change "skeptic" think tanks and front groups.  

Today, the corporate polluter members of ALEC's Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force include representatives from American Electric Power, the Fraser Institute, the Cato Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Institute for Energy Research, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the Heartland Institute, and the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, to name several."

Getting Them While They're Young: A Cynical Maneuver 

DeSmogBlog stands by what it wrote in January:

"Maneuvering to dupe schoolchildren is about as cynical as it gets. Neuroscience explains that young brains are like sponges, ready to soak in knowledge (and disinformation, for that matter), and thus, youth are an ideal target for the " merchants of doubt."

The corporations behind the writing and dissemination of this ALEC model bill, who are among the largest polluters in the world, would benefit handsomly from a legislative mandate to sow the seeds of confusion on climate science among schoolchildren."

Looks like its four down, 46 states to go for ALEC.

The fight has only just begun.

 

 

Steve Horn is a Researcher and Writer for DeSmogBlog, focusing primarily on domestic and international natural gas drilling operations and its interplay with international geopolitics. He lives in Madison, WI.