Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Kansas Lawmaker With Ties to Oil and Gas Industry Introduces Bill Opposing Sustainable Development

Kansas State Rep. Dennis Hedke

Yet another thing the matter with Kansas: A legislator on the committee that recently introduced legislation that would force teachers to misinform students about the science of climate change has introduced a bill to prohibit use of public funds to promote sustainable development.

Amazingly, he claims to be unable to see how his ties to the oil and gas industry could present a conflict of interest, as the Topeka Capitol Journal reports:

Rep. Dennis Hedke, a Republican, brought the bill to the House Energy and Environment Committee of which he is chairman. He said Tuesday he saw no conflict of interest in the fact that he is a contract geophysicist whose client list includes 30 regional oil and gas companies.

"I can't see why," Hedke said. "I didn't think about that. It really never crossed my mind. I'd probably just say no."

The bill, HB 2366, prohibits public funds from being used "either directly or indirectly, to promote, support, mandate, require, order, incentivize, advocate, plan for, participate in or implement sustainable development" which it defines as "a mode of human development in which resource use aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come, but not to include the idea, principle or practice of conservation or conservationism."

According to Kansas Sierra Club spokesman Zack Pistora, the bill appears to be an extension of an anti-U.N. resolution driven by Agenda 21 conspiracy theories proposed by Rep. Hedke last year that was linked to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and Americans for Prosperity(AFP) - both of which reportedly have funding ties to Kansas the oil and gas billionaires, the Koch brothers.

The House Energy and Environment Committee of which Rep. Hedke is chairman will also be hearing a proposal to roll back Kansas's renewable energy standards this week, despite their success at attracting new jobs and wind projects to the state. Both the proposal to roll back renewable energy standards and the bill that would force teachers to mislead students about the facts surrounding climate science also appear to have originated from ALEC.

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