"I am here today to ask you to consider some moral and spiritual guidelines about what lease you make specifically around oil shale and tar sands," Pluene told the board. "Besides the money [SITLA leases could generate], these unconventional fuels extractions will send us to a tipping point of not being able to mitigate for climate change."
Pluene, a science teacher, came prepared to discuss the link between the board's development of fossil fuels and accelerating climate changes and ultimately the future of Utah's schoolchildren. But first he asked the board about its views on climate science.
Members declined, saying they were there to hear from him, not to share their personal views.
"The members who sit on the board have a fiduciary responsibility to the schoolchildren of the state of Utah to optimize the returns on the estate that is in their trust," said Board Chairman Michael R. Brown. "That is our sole purpose."
He did note, though, that the agency considers the environment in its decisions.
Martin said she was concerned that there was not enough study of the long-term impacts that a pending tar sands project might have on the state's land, water and air.
And she promised to send along information about the research she's done on the subject.
The board took no action on the 10-minute presentation, and they asked for details of Pluene's report.
Brown concluded: "We will certainly discuss further the issues you brought forward today."