By Chris Fox, Austin Bureau Chief | 1080 KRLD

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AUSTIN (1080 KRLD) – The University of Texas fought back against an environmental study that calls into question fracking practices on west Texas land owned by the university.

The study asserts that UT is promoting worst practices. The study cites that oil and gas companies have drilled more than 4,000 wells on UT land with ninety-five percent subjected to fracking.

This is a procedure that Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger says has used huge amounts of water, involves vast amounts of chemicals and significantly polluted our air and climate. He claims it has led to between 244,000 and 7-million metric tons of carbon dioxide. That’s as much as emitted between 50,000 and 1.5 million cars in a single year.

“The oil and gas industry has spilled at least 1.6 million gallons of pollution on UT lands. Cleanups are not yet complete at five of the spill locations” says Metzger.

UT’s University Lands CEO Mark Houser was quick to respond to that portion of the study saying, “that’s about the equivalent of one can of Coke per acre per year over this eight year period. Almost all of these spills have been cleaned up. That’s an impressive record.” Houser added they go far beyond what is required by state and Federal regulations to protect University land.

While Houser admitted that he hadn’t read the entire report he did call it “one-sided”, focused entirely on fracking thereby bringing scientific validity into serious question. “Fracking has been used for 65 years including by the Environmental Protection Agency itself, with no evidence of groundwater contamination tied to fracking.”

Houser did say they do agree with the reports general assertion that there should be strong environmental safeguards in place for oil and gas production and they look forward to seeing if there are specific suggestions in the report for areas they can improve their own practices.

Metzger says their goal is to get UT to write strong environmental standards into the leases it signs with oil and gas companies.

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