by Dalton Carver
Funding for public education may get a boost if a bill introduced last week by Rep. Scott Tipton (CO-3) goes the distance. Sen. Cory Gardner also contributed to education’s cause with a bill of his own last Monday.
Tipton introduced the Education and Energy Act (House Resolution 786) Jan. 24, and it was referred to the Committees on Natural Resources and Education and Labor for consideration. The bill attempts to provide more funding for public education by amending the Mineral Leasing Act to require a specified amount of income from newly-established federal mining and geothermal leases be paid to states. That revenue would be utilized to support K-12 students and institutions of higher education.
The bill is intended to support rural communities throughout the west, as well as provide benefits in communities nationwide. However, education funds would accrue only when a new mineral or geothermal lease results in more royalties than planned for a fiscal year. When this occurs, 33 percent of the federal portion of the excess revenues would go back to...