HOUSTON – Colleen McHugh, chairman of The University of Texas System Board of Regents, issued the following statement today (July 6) regarding the formation of the Gulf Project, a coalition of energy and environmental scientists, researchers, policy experts, private-sector research scientists and state officials who will work to ensure Texas employs best practices to respond to environmental disasters and any associated economic impact. Chairman McHugh joined Gov. Rick Perry and other state and university officials at the announcement of the coalition in Houston earlier today.
Texas A&M University, Rice University, Southern Methodist University, the University of Houston, Texas Tech University, the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA), the Texas General Land Office and the Texas Railroad Commission are also participating in the coalition.
“The University of Texas System looks forward to engaging in collaborative research to help find the safest, environmentally sensitive practices in oil and gas exploration,” UT System Regents' Chairman Colleen McHugh said. “As leaders in discovery in energy research, we believe it is higher education’s duty to develop responsible methods for collecting conventional and alternative energy resources and we are confident that our collective research capabilities will serve our state and nation well in this endeavor.”
The University of Texas System is one of the nation’s largest higher education systems, with nine academic campuses and six health institutions. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $11.9 billion (FY 2010) including $2.5 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. Preliminary student enrollment exceeded 202,000 in the 2009 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state's healthcare professionals annually. With more than 84,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.