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

Blog Post

Testimony to EPA on Clean Air Standards for Oil and Gas Drilling | Luke Metzger

On Thursday, September 29, Environment Texas' Luke Metzger testified at an EPA hearing in Arlington about proposed new clean air standards for oil and gas drilling operations. Here is his testimony:

Good morning, my name is Luke Metzger and I am the Director of Environment Texas, a statewide, citizen-funded advocate for clean air, clean water and open spaces.

Today’s hearing is especially timely. The DFW is suffering from another orange ozone health warning, where electronic billboards on the highways advise us to limit our outdoor activities.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Texas

Health Advisories for Texas Beaches Increase Threefold in 2010

AUSTIN – As Texans flock to the beach, pollution from stormwater runoff and sewage overflows continue to plague Texas’s coast. Environment Texas reported that health advisories due to pollution at Texas beaches went up last year - totaling 704 days of beach advisories, according to Natural Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) 21st annual beachwater quality report released today.

“Our beaches are a pride of Texas and places that people across the region come to visit during the summer,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. “But every year we see health advisories issued due to excess pollution. It is time that we take the common sense steps to keep our beaches clean.”

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News Release | Environment Texas

Mixed Results for Environment in 82nd Legislature

The chemicals used in certain oil and gas drilling techniques will soon have to be disclosed to the public in Texas, but regulators will have a more difficult time curtailing pollution from drilling under two bills passed by the Texas Legislature and sent to the Governor this week. The Legislature adopted bills promoting energy efficiency and television recycling and removing barriers to installation of solar panels, but also made massive budget cuts to the state parks system.

“The dramatic growth of drilling using the fracking technique – often right in the middle of major populations – has caused many Texans to fear for the health of their families,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. “This bill is a first step in addressing these concerns. Texans have a right to know exactly what we’re being exposed to.”

> Keep Reading
Blog Post

Part 2: Environmental Bills to Watch | Luke Metzger

A few more bills to watch in the final weeks of session.

Fracking Disclosure: Yesterday, the House approved HB 3328 (Keffer) on second reading. The bill requires drillers of natural gas and oil to publicly disclose each chemical ingredient used in hydraulic fracturing (aka “fracking”) on each well - the first such law in the nation.

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News Release | Environment Texas

House Opens All Coasts to Destructive Drilling

Today the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1231, the Reversing President Obama’s Offshore Moratorium Act. This is the third piece of offshore drilling legislation that House Republican leadership passed as their response to rising gas prices.  But most oil industry experts and the federal Energy Information Agency say there is no connection between expanded offshore drilling and lowering prices. Environment Texas applauded Texas Congressmen Lloyd Doggett, Charlie Gonzalez and Ruben Hinojosa for voting against the bill (the sole Texans to do so).

Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger made the following statement:

“Starting last week and continuing this week, Big Oil and their allies in Congress have won a terrible trifecta, like winning horse racing’s Triple Crown, which will pave the way for risking America’s coasts with a massive expansion of offshore oil drilling.

> Keep Reading

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