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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Fracking boom on UT’s West Texas lands linked to spills, air pollution

The hydraulic fracturing boom on University of Texas System lands in West Texas has polluted soil, groundwater and air, according to a report to be released Tuesday by an environmental group and a think tank.

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Report criticizes fracking on UT land

Drilling and hydraulic fracturing on University of Texas lands in West Texas have created an environmental and health risk, a report released Tuesday concluded.

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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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Report: Fracking on UT System land posing environmental dangers

More than a million gallons of pollutants have been spilled in West Texas on UT-System land because of ongoing oil drilling, according to a new report released Tuesday by an environmental advocacy group.

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Groups, student government say UT must change fracking policies

Environment Texas, the Sierra Club and members of UT's student government released a report Tuesday outlining the effect fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is having on university-owned land in West Texas.

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