Industry supports drilling on University owned mineral rights in Texas

Fuel Fix:
A pro-industry group is firing back at calls by environmental advocates to restrict drilling on university land in Texas, arguing that oil and gas revenue has provided massive financial support for the University of Texas and Texas A&M.

North Texans for Natural Gas, a loose coalition of people who support natural gas development, is circulating a petition urging UT Chancellor William McRaven and Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp to support hydraulic fracturing and the extraction of oil and gas on University Lands, 2.1 million acres in West Texas set aside by the state’s constitution to create an endowment for the state’s two leading university systems.

“These funds have allowed the universities to keep tuition affordable and make investments in new facilities,” the petition by North Texans for Natural Gas says. “Now, a liberal environmental group is calling for a de facto end to drilling on lands that benefit both UT and A&M.”

Revenue from oil and gas leases helped push the Permanent University Fund to $19 billion last year,according to the Dallas Morning News. The two university systems saw their endowments swell by 70 in the past five years as the shale boom led to a flurry of drilling and production, the Morning News reported.

A joint report by Austin-based Environment Texas Research and Policy Center and the California-based Frontier Group released earlier this month argued that oil and gas development on the West Texas acreage, much of which sits atop the oil-rich Permian Basin, has harmed the environment and threatened public health. The flurry of hydraulic fracturing since 2005 consumed vast amounts of water during a drought, spilled 1.6 million gallons of pollutants and unleashed methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere, the report found.
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The anti energy left's agenda conflicts with providing a quality education at reasonable costs to Texas students.  That energy development has allowed the University system to build one of the largest endowments in the country and it is used mainly for the construction of buildings on the campuses.

The reason Texas has the minerals rights to much of the Permian basin is because when the state came into the union the federal government refused to assume the national debt of Texas and allowed the state to keep the Republic owned lands in return for keeping the debt.  That turned out to be a very good deal for Texas and its students.  In states where the federal government owns the public lands they have been very miserly with the development of mineral resources.

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