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 11.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide leaked from UT land over a six year period in the form of methane. That’s the same climate impact as about 2.5 million cars.

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 emissions-control technologies and operating practices.

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.

Learn more from our video on our Facebook page.

Fracking Updates


Report finds fracking drains water from drought-stricken states

“Proponents of fracking tout their ability to recycle water, but once water enters the fracking process, even if it’s recycled for fracking, it’s unlikely to enter the (environment) again,” said Dani Neuharth-Keusch, an activist at Environment Texas. “As we’re in this extreme drought, this report is another valid argument to point to against fracking.”

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Texas

Shalefield Stories: Residents on the Frontlines of Fracking Share their Stories in New Booklet

As residents of Azle, Texas call for action after a string of earthquakes likely related to injection of fracking wastewater, other Texans on the front lines of fracking recounted their stories of illness, water contamination, and damage to their livelihoods due to dirty drilling operations. Environment Texas Research & Policy Center presented the residents’ Shalefield Stories, a new booklet being distributed nationwide, as the latest evidence demonstrating the need for new standards to limit the damage from fracking.

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Report | Environment Texas

Shalefield Stories

Across the country, fracking is contaminating drinking water, making nearby families sick with air pollution, and turning forest acres into industrial zones.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Texas

Dallas effectively bans fracking

DALLAS – The Dallas City Council approved a tough new ordinance today which effectively bans drilling within city limits. The new standards require drilling rigs and compressor stations to be set back 1500 feet from protected areas like homes and schools. The new buffer is five times greater than the old standard of just 300 feet and is one of the strongest in Texas. Working with local groups, Environment Texas campaigned for years in support of the ordinance, testifying before city council and issuing email action alerts to generate comments to council. 

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News Release | Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

Fracking by the Numbers

As Texans continue to struggle with extreme drought, a new report shows fracking has already used at least 110 billion gallons of Texas fresh water — enough to fill a third of the entire volume of Lake Travis. The Environment Texas Research & Policy Center report, “Fracking by the Numbers,” is the first of its kind to measure the footprint of fracking in Texas to date.


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