Ira Yates is a native Austinite and maintains his southwest Austin ranch as a conservation easement. Ira also maintains a residence in Iraan Texas where he is a co-owner of the Yates Pecos Ranch. As a result, he personally feels and witnesses the great cultural and economic differences between the rural oil field communities and the urban populated communities.
As an active mineral interest owner in the Yates Oil Field in Pecos County Texas, Ira has experienced and been subject to regulatory actions by the Texas Railroad Commission. The oil embargo of the early 70’s, price controls on oil by the Carter administration, and extensive involvement in the 1976 Yates Field Unitization process gives him a unique perspective on the Railroad Commission’s historic duties of setting production limits and determining maximum efficient rate of production. As a youngster he accompanied his mother to the Railroad Commission and Texas General Land Office as she successfully sought assistance to get the oil companies to clean up abandoned wells in riverbed leases along the Pecos River.
Ira believes science, technology and regulatory initiatives cannot succeed if the socioeconomic related issues are not taken into consideration. Ira works with the local High School and the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State to promote student-based water testing and other STEM educational opportunities. He and his friends have created Friends of the Pecos River to promote additional educational and alternative economic opportunities.