West Texas Fracking on UT Lands and the Growing Environmental Crisis

West Texas Fracking on UT Lands and the Growing Environmental Crisis


The search for fuels and the profits which extend from it have long been a concern for environmentalists and for good reason. While the University of Texas and Texas A&M Systems have seen their revenue increase due to the fracturing work that’s being done on their land, the results are in that this has a very significant effect on the environment. Reports have been few and far between on West Texas fracking (likely in part because such a profitable business enjoys a few privileges), but a new one done by the Environment Texas Research and Policy Center and Frontier Group shows some alarming conclusions.

West Texas Fracking Figures

While Texans across the state were asked to scale back their water usage, the West Texas fracking required 6 billion gallons of water to do the job. Since 2008, the project has managed to insert 1.6 million gallons of saltwater, oil and other pollutants back into the ground. As of the writing of this post, the cleanup is still pending on several of the spill sites. It also released high quantities of methane into the atmosphere, a major contributor to global warming. There have been 4,132 wells that have been drilled 2005 which were a part of the hydraulic fracturing.

Cause and Effect

Fracking works by forcing a high-pressure amount of water, sand and chemicals into a rock which eventually will allow the gas from inside that rock to move up to the head of the well. It’s still a new process, and it’s definitely seen its fair share of trial and error. While progress will be met with failures and successes, the relative costs of these failures seem to far outweigh the potential benefits. In the case of our environment, our future has to be a larger factor in the things that we do today. With school administrators looking at their dwindling budgets, it’s easy to see why this endeavor was approved, but students from UT Austin, UT San Antonio and the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club are urging decision makers to change their policies and limit the West Texas fracking practices.

A Passionate Plea

Students are hoping to mitigate the harm done and help save wildlife by stopping the West Texas fracking in environmentally important areas, such as those which serve as a refuge for migrations of birds or endangered species. They also want to limit the amount of water used and find a way to stop the leaks. Those at UT may wish to impose stricter penalties by the companies performing the work or require more in depth information about the actual activities taking place. This could help them tighten up the provisions and rules which currently govern the contracts between the University Lands Office and the workers. Mark Houser, CEO of this office, stated that he hasn’t read the report but that he feels they have the necessary checkpoints in place which protect their lands and the environment. One might speculate that if the checkpoints in place were working correctly, he would already know how the lands have been compromised and be able to respond to the reports. It suggests a lack of communication at the very best, blind eyes turned at the very worst.

Thinking Ahead

Fossil fuels are, by very definition, not a sustainable solution. While we can’t halt everything until the entire world can be on solar or wind power,  students are calling for more efforts to be put into reducing our dependency on these potentially devastating methods to extract these types of fuels. They fully hope and expect that their leaders will support them in wanting to cut back on West Texas fracking.

GOM Law Is Here to Help

Not only students have been effected by the pollutants, but the surrounding communities as well who use the wells for personal use. If you feel like you have health or wellness problems due to the fracking, then please contact us today at (956) 283-5626. We can help you decide the next best steps, and we will continue to be a resources to the residents in the area for as long as need be.