Horns Down for Feb. 12: Fracking water waste and Texas students not finishing college


Horns Down: Texas fracking industry wastes water

Late last month, researchers at UT’s Bureau of Economic Geology published a study about the source and fate of water used in the hydraulic fracking industry of the Barnett Shale in Texas as a case study. The study found that 92 percent of the total water used in hydraulic fracking in that area was abstracted from surface water or groundwater — most of which comes from the Trinity Aquifer, one of the most depleted aquifers in the state. According to an article last Tuesday in the Texas Observer, the correlation between gas production and water use in the fracking industry is almost perfect, yet this industry does not seem at all concerned with the implications this water use will have for the drought in Texas. Horns down to the irresponsibility of these fracking companies, whose potential to bring economic growth to Texas is undermined by their lack of environmental consciousness. 

Horns Down: Texas students not likely to finish college

According to data analyzed by two state agencies and presented to the Texas Tribune on Tuesday, eighth-graders in Texas have only a 20 percent chance of completing any sort of college degree within six years of high school graduation. The numbers are even worse for black, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students. This disturbing information signals a serious problem for what is often called Texas’ “education pipeline,” in which a vast majority of students are simply not continuing their education beyond high school. As Texas Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes told the Tribune, “If your final number is 19 out of 100 students receiving some form of post-secondary credential, you know there’s an awful lot of leakage in the pipeline.” But, while it is certainly bad news that so many Texans don’t ever receive college degrees, we must be careful in how we move forward to address the problem. The data are far from perfect, since the study overlooked students who pursued alternative, yet productive, post-secondary plans — such as professional internships and military service — and we shouldn’t assume that a college degree is the only measure of success. Nevertheless, 20 percent is shockingly low, and we should be disappointed in our public schools for not preparing Texans for college.