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Utah Has Earth Day Poster Contest to Praise Fossil Fuels

"We are trying to promote saving the Earth, not using up our natural resources," criticized one educator

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

An Earth Day poster that does not follow the Utah Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining guidelines. (Image: Travis Morgan/flickr)Grade school students in Utah can participate this year in an Earth Day poster contest. The theme of the poster should not be a healthy ecosystem, how recycling helps reduce waste or how climate change is impacting the local flora and fauna. Instead, the theme is how wonderful fossil fuels are.

As Think Progress reported Wednesday, Utah has a state-endorsed Earth Day poster contest whose theme for 2013 is "Where Would WE Be Without Oil, Gas & Mining?"

The contest is from the Utah Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining and is sponsored by the Salt Lake Petroleum Section of Society of Petroleum Engineers.

The screenshot from the official rules below shows the contest's objectives:

All kindergarten to 6th grade and Special Education students are invited to join the contest, and as the objectives show, the contest would allow the pro-fossil fuel slant to be part of the science and social studies classroom. 

The Salt Lake Tribune reported Tuesday on some of the outrage the contest sparked:

"I’m disgusted that the State is backing propaganda like this in our schools. Especially after a winter filled with some of the worst air quality we’ve ever seen? It makes me sick," Colby Poulson, father of a kindergartner at Eagle Bay Elementary in Farmington, wrote in a letter to the editor that ran in The Salt Lake Tribune. [...]

"Had it come across my desk I would have questioned it, especially in connection with Earth Day. We are trying to promote saving the Earth, not using up our natural resources," said Rita Stevenson, the science curriculum director for the district’s 59 elementary schools.

The Utah Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining had a similarly-themed poster contest last year.  See their list of sponsors below:

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