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

News Release | Environment Texas

Fracking on Film: As Promised Land opens, group warns of dirty drilling damage to health and the environment

AUSTIN - As the new Matt Damon movie, Promised Land, opened in theaters today, Environment Texas sounded the alarm about the very real damage fracking is doing in here in Texas.

“Spoiler alert: The truth about fracking is even worse than what you see in the movie,” said Luke Metzger, Director of Environment Texas. “Right here in Texas, dirty drilling operations pollute our air and use huge amounts of water.”

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Environmentalists Call For Drillers to Recycle Fracking Water

At an event in Fort Worth, Luke Metzger with Environment Texas said two-thirds of Texas water is used by agriculture and energy. He says many power plants use outdated technology and a lot of water for cooling, and gas drillers on the Barnett Shale use millions of gallons for hydraulic facturing. Environment Texas wants lawmakers to require natural gas drillers to recycle that fracking water.

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Environment Texas calling for Legislature to stop water wasters

While the state deals with a lingering drought, a leading Texas environment group is calling on the legislature to change the way the state deals with water.

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Headline

Drought Helps Fracking Foes Build Momentum for Recycling

Environmentalists in Texas are lobbying the Legislature to pass water-conservation requirements during next year’s session. In Pennsylvania, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission on July 16 suspended water intake for companies including Talisman Energy Inc. (TLM)Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM)

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Fracking Boom Carries Hidden Costs to Taxpayers

The oil and gas drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing – or fracking for short – can lower housing property values, run up costs of road repairs and ring up new costs for water infrastructure, says a critical report released Thursday by Environment Texas and Environment America.

The report, “The Costs of Fracking: The Price Tag of Dirty Drilling’s Environmental Damage,” arrives just as the Texas Railroad Commission’s proposed rules for permitting recycling of fracking water are undergoing a public comment period.

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