UT must help solve global warming, not make it worse

We must change our dirty energy habits to combat the threat of global warming and ultimately move to 100% clean energy. The UT community understands this principle and prides itself on leading the way towards the clean, sustainable energy future we need. 

But when it comes to controlling pollution that contributes to climate change from fracking operations on its own land, UT’s approach is stuck in the past. 

The Santa Rita Oil Rig located on the UT Austin main campus via Flickr 2.0

UT’s oil and gas operations release potent greenhouse gases

At the more than 9000 wells drilled on land owned by UT, methane comes to the surface with recovered oil and leaks into the atmosphere. Invisible and odorless, methane is an incredibly powerful greenhouse gas — more than 80 times more powerful at trapping heat than carbon dioxide. Scientists claim that 25% of the global warming we’re experiencing today is due to methane. 

Environment Texas analysis shows that the equivalent of up to 11.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide leaks from UT land every year in the form of methane. That’s the same climate impact as about 2.5 million cars or 3.4 coal-fired power plants.

UT should be leader in sustainability

Simple and affordable modifications to oilfield operations can cut methane emissions dramatically. Other oil and gas states, like Colorado, California and Wyoming have started requiring companies to implement these strategies to reduce emissions, but companies that drill on UT land aren’t required to make them. 

According to ICF International “...industry could cut methane emissions by 40% below projected 2018 levels at an average annual cost of less than one cent on average per thousand cubic feet of produced natural gas by adopting available

Together, we can get UT to act

As the state’s flagship educational institution and a significant landholder, the University of Texas has a particular responsibility to protect the environment. Their own sustainability policy states “the Board of Regents of the University of Texas is committed to stewardship of the environment and promotion of the principles of energy efficiency and sustainability” and directs institutions to “pursue the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” UT officials have told the press “the University Lands Office takes very seriously its role in ensuring all drilling is performed in a safe and sustainable manner.” 

All we need is for UT to live up to its words and act to reduce this harmful pollution. So please join us.

The first step is an easy one: Add your name in support of UT cutting methane pollution

Global warming is a profound threat to virtually every aspect of nature and human civilization –disrupting the functioning of ecosystems, increasing the frequency and violence of extreme weather, and ultimately jeopardizing health, food production, and water resources for Americans and people across the planet.

As one of the biggest players in the oil industry in the country, UT has a platform by which they can drive powerful change in the industry. Not only will they clean up their act, they’ll create a powerful precedent which could reverberate throughout the industry. Plus it’ll help make UT a national leader in sustainability.

 

 

Fracking Updates

Blog Post

CALLING ALL ARTISTS: Art contest with prizes for best submissions! | Luke Metzger

Environment Texas is hosting an art contest for our campaign:  “Methane: UT’s dirty little secret.” The University of Texas is involved in the one of the largest oil and gas operations in America. The drilling operations pollute huge amounts of methane, which is harming our planet.  UT doesn’t require companies who lease its land to use available technology to cut methane pollution. We’re calling on UT to require the companies that drill on UT owned land to cut methane emissions in half in the next five years.

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News Release | Environment Texas

Haunted Protest: Students, activists ask UT to cut frightening pollution

AUSTIN – Halloween costumed students and activists gathered outside UT Chancellor McRaven's office today to ask him to insist oil companies which lease UT land cut the global warming pollution “haunting the planet.” Infectious diseased-zombies, wildfire-burned fire fighters, polar bears in snorkels and mask and others gathered to ask UT to help solve global warming, not make it worse.

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Blog Post

Letter to Chancellor McRaven on UT Methane Emissions | Luke Metzger

On behalf of Environment Texas and the University of Texas Student Government, we are writing to provide a brief update and request a meeting so we can discuss methane emissions from oil and gas facilities overseen by University Lands and the disappointing stance taken by UL administration.

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News Release | Environment Texas

Children and Elderly at Risk from “Dangerous and Close” Fracking

FORT WORTH –More than 437,000 kindergarten through twelfth grade children in Texas attend school within one mile of a fracked oil or gas well, putting them at increased risk of health impacts from dangerous chemicals and air pollution. The finding comes from a new study by Environment Texas Research & Policy Center that exposes the proximity of fracking near schools, hospitals, day care centers and nursing homes, risking the health of our children and other vulnerable populations.

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Report | Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

Dangerous and Close

Oil and gas companies are fracking near our communities, polluting our air and water, and risking the health of our children and other vulnerable populations. Fracking often is done very close to vulnerable people – infants, school children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems – even though communities typically seek to keep industrial activities far away from facilities serving these populations, such as schools, hospitals, nursing homes and day care centers. 

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