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

Headline

Lawmakers vote to block fracking bans

The Texas Senate approved a bill to block communities' efforts to restrict fracking and limit oil and gas drilling within municipal boundaries, delivering a significant victory to the energy industry over environmentalists and advocates for local control.

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Headline

Senate OKs bill to bar fracking bans by cities

The Texas Senate approved a bill to block communities' efforts to restrict fracking and limit oil and gas drilling within municipal boundaries, delivering a significant victory to the energy industry over environmentalists and advocates for local control.

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Headline

Fracking gets support from lawmakers

Texas moved Monday to ban its own cities from imposing prohibitions on hydraulic fracturing and other potentially environmentally harmful oil and natural gas drilling activities within their boundaries - a major victory for industry groups and top conservatives who have decried rampant local "overregulation."

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Headline

State limits local control on oil/gas

With hardly any debate, the Texas Senate on Monday easily approved a House bill that would make it clear that it is the state — not local governments — which has the authority to regulate the oil and gas industry in Texas.

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News Release | Environment Texas

Texas Senate passes bill preempting local drilling standards

AUSTIN - Today the Texas Senate passed HB 40, frequently called the "Denton fracking bill" on a third reading vote of 24-7. The bill, which "expressly preempts" local regulations of the oil and gas industry, now heads to the Governor's desk.

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