After controversy surrounding the use of fossil fuels, Texas has authorized new textbooks in the largest oil and gas producing state in the US.

The education board in Texas has given the green light to new science textbooks, but has requested that certain publishers remove content that has been deemed inaccurate or unfairly portrays fossil fuels in the state known for its oil and gas industry.

The recent vote on the Texas State Board of Education revealed deep divisions on the topic of teaching climate change to students. This is not the first time the board has faced contentious debates over the curriculum, including how to approach the teaching of evolution and U.S. history to over 5 million students.

According to Glenn Branch, the deputy director of the National Center on Science Education, the publishers are unlikely to significantly alter the content of textbooks in order to maintain scientific accuracy while also appealing to the market in Texas.

Texas has more than 1,000 school districts and none are obligated to use textbooks approved by the board. Still, the endorsements carry weight. Texas’ purchasing power related to textbooks has long raised concerns about the state’s decisions impacting what students learn in other states, although publishers say that clout has diminished.

On Friday, a vote was held to determine which textbooks met the standards established in 2021. These standards include acknowledging human factors as contributing to climate change and not promoting creationism as an alternative to evolution. According to Branch, several books complied with these standards and aligned with the consensus of the scientific community.

However, not all textbooks were approved. The publisher Green Ninja faced criticism from certain members of the GOP board for a lesson that required students to compose a fictional story cautioning their loved ones about the effects of climate change. Ultimately, the board decided to reject the textbooks from this publisher.

Staci Childs, a member of the state board, stated that the publisher was open to having more balanced and positive discussions about oil and gas. However, the board ultimately declined the textbooks.

As a former teacher, Childs emphasized the importance of having accessible and high-quality materials, citing this as a prime example.

Four publishers had their books added to the list of approved materials. However, some of them were required to make changes to the content related to energy, fossil fuels, and evolution. For example, one biology textbook was only approved if it removed images depicting humans as having a common ancestor with monkeys.

Several members of the 15-person board, who are Republicans, rejected the available textbooks this week, stating that they were excessively critical of fossil fuels and did not offer alternative perspectives on evolution. Wayne Christian, a Republican who oversees the regulation of the oil and gas industry in Texas, urged the board to select textbooks that emphasized the significance of fossil fuels for energy production.

Christian stated after the vote that future generations in America should not be subjected to a leftist agenda that teaches them to despise oil and natural gas in the classroom.

Aaron Kinsey, a member of the Republican board and an executive at an oil field services firm in West Texas, cast a vote against a personal finance textbook due to its portrayal of the oil industry. Additionally, he criticized a statement about the importance of energy conservation in achieving energy independence as being only partially true.

The majority of scientists concur that the emission of heat-trapping gases from burning fossil fuels is causing a rise in worldwide temperatures, disrupting weather patterns and putting animal species at risk.

The National Science Teaching Association, consisting of 35,000 science educators in the U.S., sent a letter on Thursday urging the board to not let objections to evolution and climate change hinder the approval of science textbooks in Texas.