NTK: NPR Scrutinizes Energy Group that Has Spent Millions Educating Okla. Students

NPR Smears Oklahoma Group that Has Spent Millions Rebuilding the State
via Need To Know Network, June 16, 2017

The Oklahoma Energy Resources Board (OERB) has been repeatedly lauded for the work they do. The organization has become a staple in the state for using private money to restore old well sites and extensively fund education programs that help children in the classroom.

Despite that, NPR recently put out a piece that glosses over the facts about how OERB has helped the state in order to essentially accuse them of attempting to influence Oklahoma’s students by teaching them about the importance of energy in everyday life.

The story ignores the fact that OERB has reached an estimated 1.9 million Oklahoma students through energy education programs since its inception in 1996, and only mentions in passing that the board has spent “upwards of $40 million” of private money to fund education programs for kids across the state.

On top of that, the story does not mention that funding education programs is OERB’s second largest expenditure. The bulk of the group’s funding goes toward the important practice of restoring old well sites in the state, a task that they have been praised for undertaking.

In fact, a May 2017 editorial from The Oklahoman notes that residents are grateful for the oil and gas industry because of the word done by OERB. The piece reports that since 1993, “OERB has restored about 15,300 orphaned and abandoned well sites,” and they have spent “about $100 million on well site cleanup.” These restoration projects help keep and preserve important terrain across the state.

On top of that, a 2016 article indicated that OERB is doing such an efficient job cleaning up these old well sites that they may be running out of areas to restore. That article stated that OERB can refurbish 750 sites per year and re-iterated that the group had cleaned up more than 15,000 locations since it was started in the 1990s.

Instead of extolling the massive benefits that this group brings to the state, NPR wrote their story with the agenda of trying to attack this group because it’s funded by energy producers. Unfortunately, their piece did not even mention OERB’s clean-up priorities and ignored all the work that the group does to help the community.

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