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

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Industry group says offshore drilling safety rules will cause too much pain

As the Obama administration readies new offshore drilling regulations designed to prevent a repeat of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the oil and gas industry is lobbying for final hour adjustments.

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Headline

On Quakes, Regulator Sides with Energy Companies

"The Railroad Commission is losing all credibility. Independent scientists, the U.S. Geological Survey and even the state of Oklahoma have all linked wastewater injection wells to earthquakes," said Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas. "But, once again, the oil and gas industry is denying the science rather than acting responsibly."

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News Release | Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

Report: Fracking on UT Lands pollutes air and water

AUSTIN – Fracking for oil and gas on one million acres of land owned by the University of Texas system has a substantial impact to the environment and public health, according to a first of its kind report by Environment Texas Research and Policy Center and Frontier Group. The groups were joined by student leaders at UT Austin and UT San Antonio and the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club in calling on the University Lands office to end the worst practices of fracking and write strong environmental protections in to leases they sign with oil and gas companies. 

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Report | Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

Fracking on University of Texas Lands

Since 2005, oil and gas companies have drilled 4,350 wells on West Texas land owned by the University of Texas. Of those wells, 95 percent have been subject to high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” Fracking threatens the environment and human health by consuming vast amounts of water, introducing toxic chemicals into our air and water, and damaging natural landscapes.

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Fracking on University of Texas Land Is Poisoning the Air, Soil, and Water

The University of Texas has seen 1.6 million gallons of oil, waste water, and pollutants spilling from fracking sites into the ground and groundwater on lands that it leases to oil and gas companies in West Texas, according to a report from two environmental groups released today.

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