Agriculture: Energy & Environmental Technology [§
Texas Legacy site hosts a variety of educational curricula, lesson
plans, keys and ideas, and supporting media, including video,
databases, transcripts and other material. Below you can find
the TEKS Agriculture standards for Energy and
Environmental Technology, particularly Energy
as described in section
119.22(c)(6), with relevant
activities drawn from this archive.
recognizes the use of natural resources for energy:
Excerpts of TEKS Text
(A) identify natural resources used for energy;
Here, students can find varied discussions of energy resources,
including both fossil and renewable resources, such as those
provided by the agricultural industry. There is also
extensive coverage of energy-related policy in the
wide variety of natural resources are used for energy, as
discussed by TexasLegacy.org narrators.
About 38% of the electricity generated in the state comes from
combustion of coal and lignite.
John Prager of Smithville, a former miner, discusses the
extraction of lignite.
Roughly 11% of the state's electricity comes from nuclear
facilities, which in turn rely on uranium mining.
Ben Figueroa, a social worker in Kingsville, and
Father Frank Kurzaj, a priest from Panna Maria and San
Antonio, discuss the political and religious controversies that
arise over the mining of uranium, and the disposal of the waste
Somewhat less than 1%, but still a significant number of
megawatts, are delivered by hydroelectric dams. One
of the larger such dams is the facility at Toledo Bend, which is
discussed by Bridge City resident Sue Bailey in the
Ripples on a Pond. At the other end of the scale,
Terry O'Rourke speaks in the transcript from his
experience building a small hydro plant in the California
Wind is a rapidly increasing source of
commercially-generated electrical energy.
Smitty Smith and
Russel Smith, energy advocates from Austin, explain the
current and future potential of wind power to provide a cleaner
and reasonably-priced source of energy.
(B) identify agricultural products used for energy;
TexasLegacy.org narrators, many of whom are ranchers and farmers
who've struggled with the long decline of the agricultural
industry, are excited by the opportunities on the land for
renewable sources of energy.
There have been discussions about the use of biomass from
agricultural operations for generating energy. Some of the
talk has centered on the cultivation, harvesting and processing
of perennial grasses, much like what would have been found in
native prairies (please see excerpts from Junction farmer
Bill Neiman and Celeste ecologist
However, one of the most important agricultural products that
could be used for energy is simply siting, and exposure to the
wind. Ranchers in the Trans Pecos and Panhandle are
already securing lucrative leases for windmill sites, and
enabling related local jobs for construction, maintenance, and
monitoring. Please hear the story from
(C) discuss renewable and non-renewable energy resources; and
TexasLegacy.org narrators bring a deep interest in renewable
energy from their concern about climate change, air quality,
strip mining, and other environmental problems associated with
we strike the peak of the Hubble Curve and look at the
likelihood of declining oil production, and also consider the
consequences of climate change and the risks of geopolitical
instability surrounding petroleum production, renewable energy
is becoming more attractive.
For details on energy discussions, both renewable and
non-renewable, please search the TexasLegacy.org
interview log, and/or
history timeline, entering phrases such as "energy" or
Aside from these closely related energy concerns, students might
want to consider two connected topics that might not come
immediately to mind - the petrochemical industry and the
For instance, some of the concerns about non-renewable energy
revolve around the related Texas petrochemical industry
which relies on fossil fuels as a feedstock, and consumes energy
for its process. Think about the experiences of those who
work in the plants (Pasadena petrochemical worker,
Steve Smith), monitor the plants (Houston inspector,
Brandt Mannchen), live near the plants (Beaumont
Roy Malveaux), reside downwind (Houston dentist,
George Smith or Houston realtor,
LaNell Anderson), or look at the health effects from the
plants' products (Galveston toxicologist,
Marvin Legator or Houston pathologist,
One of the cheapest and most efficient forms of renewable energy
that is being discussed in Texas involves demand reduction,
or "negawatts". Since close to half of greenhouse gas
emissions are charged to buildings, a good deal of effort is
being put into better insulation, more efficient appliances,
less embodied energy in structures, and so on. Sustainable
Gail Vittori and architect
Pliny Fisk offer many lessons in this area.
(D) identify policies affecting energy.
major leader in the global energy business, Texas has a number
of people who are expert in conventional and alternative energy
policies, some of whom are represented in the archive.
many years, particularly since the accidents at Three Mile
Island and Chernobyl, one of the liveliest policy debates
concerning energy has revolved around nuclear energy policy.
Supporters of the nuclear industry have pointed out the relative
lack of greenhouse gas emissions and the promise of cheap
operation. Critics have pointed out the generous federal
research and liability insurance subsidies, the pattern of cost
overruns and design flaws, the toxicity of the fuel and waste,
and the national security risk from enrichment for weapons.
To better understand the discussions of how nuclear policies
have affected the energy debate, please consider the following
segments, as they track the industrial process from cradle to
Mining of "yellow cake" uranium ore stirred concern among
Ben Figueroa and
Father Frank Kurzaj.
Pat Suter was alarmed at the lax handling of uranium ore
during transport, while musician
Gary Oliver became concerned about the transport of the
radioactive waste after processing and generation.
Andy Sansom and
Betty Brink, journalists who covered the construction of
the South Texas and Comanche Peak nuclear plants, both learned
of design flaws, construction errors, coverups, and
worker intimidation. Some went beyond written critiques of
the plants under construction, and became involved in civil
Jim Schermbeck's excerpt).
Some critics' opposition to American nuclear energy policy had
to do with the connection with nuclear weapons (for
instance, the Pantex peace activist,
Mavis Belisle), or having their patriotism impugned (Amarillo retailer
Others, such as the Austin utility board member,
Shudde Fath, were opposed due to the high and
uncertain cost of the electricity these plants would
generate and sell.
Still other critics focused on the downstream effects of the nuclear
plants, of how their waste might be handled. Some
opponents (Sierra Blanca's
Bill Addington, Spofford's
Tootsie Herndon and Dell City's
Mary Lynch and
Jim Lynch) found themselves concentrating on the
problems of low-level radioactive waste disposal.
Tonya Kleuskens in the Panhandle town of Dawn) faced the challenges
from proponents of high-level radwaste