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

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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News Release | Environment Texas

Climate Campaign Puts UT on Notice: Reduce Methane Emissions at Your West Texas Oil Fields

AUSTIN - At various UT System campuses today, Environment Texas called on University of Texas administrators to reduce the climate-damaging methane emissions occurring at oil and gas facilities on land managed by the UT System.

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News Release | Environment Texas

Sunset Commission calls for tougher enforcement by oil and gas regulator

AUSTIN - Today the Sunset Commission of Texas issued its staff report on the Railroad Commission, the state's primary regulator of the oil and gas industry. The Sunset staff found that the "commission’s actions have little deterrent effect" to prevent violations of state law and recommended the agency boost enforcement efforts. Sunset staff also found that oil and gas operators are not putting up enough bond money to plug wells should the company go out of business, leaving taxpayers to pick up the costs and creating a backlog in plugging of wells.

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News Release | Environment Texas

10 Billion Pounds of Chemicals Injected Underground in Texas for Fracking

AUSTIN –10 billion pounds of chemicals have been pumped underground  to frack 54,958 wells in Texas since 2011, according to a new report from Environment Texas Research & Policy Center. Written along with the Frontier Group, the study, Fracking by the Numbers, quantifies how 138,000 fracking wells permitted over the last decade across the country have harmed the nation’s air, water, land and climate.

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Report | Environment Texas

Fracking by the numbers

Since 2005, according to industry and state data, at least 137,000 fracking wells have been drilled or permitted in more than 20 states, but the scale of fracking’s impact on our environment can be difficult to grasp. This report quantifies some of the key environmental and public health-related impacts triggered by fracking during the technology’s decade-long spread across the country.

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