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

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Railroad Commissioner David Porter helping to shape fracking proposals amid boom

Environmentalists remain highly skeptical of fracking, the drilling practice that has made this gas boom possible. On Thursday, Environment Texas released a report documenting the hundreds of millions of dollars in costs associated with shale exploration, starting with water infrastructure needs and looking ahead to long-term well problems.

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Headline

Fracking in Dallas - Report Release

DALLAS - Texas environmentalists are in Dallas asking city leaders to rethink fracking. Environment Texas released a report today, criticizing energy for their fracking techniques.

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Headline

New Report Aims to Hit Fracking Right in the Pocketbook

The Costs of Fracking” collects data from academic and government studies to paint a picture of an industry that may be a bigger drain on state tax money than previously thought. The report looks at things like damage to roads, increased cost for water infrastructure projects, and drilling’s impact on property values in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

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News Release | Environment Texas

The Cost of Fracking: Environment Texas Documents the Dollars Drained by Dirty Drilling

DALLAS - Firing a new salvo in the ongoing debate over the gas drilling practice known as fracking, Environment Texas today released a report documenting a wide range of dollars and cents costs imposed by dirty drilling.  As documented in The Costs of Fracking, fracking creates millions of dollars of costs related to everything from water infrastructure to ruined roads to devalued property.   The report release comes amidst deliberations by the Dallas City Council over proposed changes to the city ordinance governing drilling.

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Report | Environment Texas Research & Policy Center

The Costs of Fracking

Over the past decade, the oil and gas industry has fused two technologies – hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling – to unlock new supplies of fossil fuels in underground rock formations across the United States. “Fracking” has spread rapidly, leaving a trail of contaminated water, polluted air, and marred landscapes in its wake. In fact, a growing body of data indicates that fracking is an environmental and public health disaster in the making.

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