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“Texas” is slang for “wild” in Norway. A brief glance at the oil and gas industry in the Lone Star State vindicates the term. Wall Street and Big Oil have set their sights on this state as the epicenter of their destructive and exploitative fossil fuel extractivism. 

Permian Climate Bomb

Texas is home to a large portion of the Permian Basin, a fracking powerhouse gushing 5 million barrels of oil per day (bbl/d) and supplying nearly 40% of U.S. oil. The well sites that make this surplus possible blast enough methane into the atmosphere to concoct greenhouse gas clouds visible from space—poisoning communities and igniting a climate bomb.

Along with the Permian, the Eagle Ford Shale (and the Haynesville Shale) flood Texas communities and along the Gulf Coast with harmful fossil fuel infrastructure like gas plants, petrochemical plants, refineries, and export terminals. Meanwhile, environmental state agencies overwhelmingly favor corporations over impacted communities. 

Optical Gas Imaging Work

Texas is one of five oil and gas producing states and regions in the U.S. where our field staff conduct frequent investigations of oil and gas facilities using optical gas imaging (OGI) technology. Earthworks documents emissions directly from the oilfield to prove the failure of these agencies, and advocate for alternatives.

Through media engagement and educational materials documenting emissions, we sound the alarm on Texas villainy towards the climate and human health. We support regional climate movements like the Permian Gulf Coast Coalition to keep fossil fuels in the ground and transition to a just, clean economy. 

The birth of American oil and gas is deeply tied to Texas:

  • Santa Rita No.1 oil well in West Texas unleashed the first Permian Basin oil boom in 1923;
  • “Father of Fracking” George Mitchell breathed in life to the industry in the late 1990’s by solving the profitability puzzle of hydraulic fracturing in Wise County;
  • a former Texas Governor touted his Crawford Ranch to win the presidency and intertwine fossil fuels with patriotic nationalism.

Yet, Texas communities will bury oil and gas as a relic of the past, ushering in a new, green economy based on life, health, and prosperity for the many.