Fracking Ban: A Disaster for Texas Universities

Anti-Fracking Demonstrators
Anti-Fracking Demonstrators

Controversy is brewing over whether the state should continue to drill for oil and gas on public University Lands.

Related: "Denton Fracking Bill" Sails Through House

A report released earlier this month by Austin-based Environment Texas Research and Policy Center and the California-based Frontier Group called for an end to oil and gas drilling, citing that 95% of the leases involve the controversial technique of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). They claim that fracking hurts the environment and threatens public health.

Pro industry supporters are expressing outrage, saying a halt to drilling would be "disastrous for the University system and the Texas economy."

If Environment Texas gets what it wants, it would mean a severe cut in the revenue stream for higher education in Texas. Alyssa Ray, marketing and corporate strategy analyst said that oil and gas leases from University Lands brought in more than $1.1 billion in 2014 compared to $589 million in tuition from more than 50,000 UT students in 2011.

Please stand with us by defending continued oil and natural gas development on University Lands (...) These funds have allowed the universities to keep tuition affordable and make investments in new facilities. Now, a liberal environmental group is calling for a de facto end to drilling on lands that benefit both UT and A&M.
— North Texans for Natural Gas, Petition Plea