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

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
News Release | Environment Texas

On Sixth Month Anniversary of BP’s Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Environment Texas Calls For Permanent Protection of Coast

Today, Environment Texas commemorated the sixth month anniversary of the explosion at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig on April 20th that tragically killed eleven men and led to the worst oil spill and environmental disaster in U.S. history.  Approximately 200 million gallons of oil were spilled into the Gulf of Mexico between April 20th and July 15th when the well was temporarily capped. The resulting spill coated more than 600 miles of coastline, hundreds of square miles of marsh, and killed thousands of birds and sea turtles. Recent scientific studies have indicated large amounts of oil remain in the Gulf, especially in deeper water, and oil continues to come up.

In response to the sixth month anniversary of the country’s worst environmental disaster Alejandro Savransky, Field Organizer for Environment Texas, aid the following.


“There are three primary lessons from the spill. First, no matter how big the oil company or how strong its promises; offshore drilling is still a risky business, especially in deep water. Second, we must protect our sensitive oceans, coasts and beaches from offshore drilling wherever the industry is not drilling today. Finally, we must end our dependence on oil, or Big Oil will continue to push to drill in sensitive places that should be protected instead.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Texas

Environment TexasPraises House Lifting BP Liability Limit and Investing in Our Treasured Lands and Waters, Pans Hypocrisy of Lifting Deep Water Moratorium

Today, the House of Representatives passed legislation responding to the ongoing BP oil spill.  The CLEAR Act (H.R.3534) will require oil companies to pay for environmental damage caused by spills, reform oil drilling oversight, end some loopholes in environmental rules for on-shore oil and gas drilling, and provide permanent funding for land and water conservation.  Before it passed, however, the House added an amendment offered by Representatives Melancon and Childers that would allow deep water drilling to resume before the end of the administration’s six-month moratorium.

Environment Texas’ Luke Metzger issued the following statement in response:

“This bill takes a step forward on holding oil companies accountable for spills, securing funding for treasured lands and making modest reforms for on-shore drilling.  We are extremely disappointed that the bill takes a step backwards in protecting the Gulf Coast by lifting a commonsense timeout for deepwater exploration put in place by the Obama administration.

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Texas

Congress to Vote on Oil Leak Response Bill Tomorrow

AUSTIN – Environment Texas called upon the Texas Congressional Delegation to support the CLEAR Act, Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act, (H.R. 3534), scheduled for a vote tomorrow in the U.S. House. The bill

    * Holds BP accountable for the oil spill by lifting the cap on liability.
    * Reforms offshore oil and gas drilling by tightening safety and permitting provisions
    * Provides funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund to acquire and protect key treasured lands in Texas, including Big Bend National Park and Big Thicket National Forest

Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger said, “We must do everything possible to ensure that a disaster in the Gulf never happens again. The CLEAR Act holds BP accountable, tightens safety standards on offshore drilling, and provides millions of dollars for Texas natural areas like Big Bend and the Big Thicket.”

> Keep Reading
News Release | Environment Texas

Environment Texas Blasts Decision to Allow More Offshore Drilling

"The BP well is still spewing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf and it’s clear that the oil industry has failed to demonstrate that it is capable of preventing and cleaning up a catastrophic oil spill. Judge Feldman’s decision to allow oil companies to resume deepwater drilling in the Gulf is like putting a drunk back in the driver’s seat after handing him a cup of coffee.”

> Keep Reading


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