Coal Mine Methane Venting Impacts
This is what methane venting above coal mines looks like in western Colorado. These pictures were taken above the West Elk coal mine, one of the largest coal mines in the North Fork of the Gunnison River Valley in western Colorado near Paonia. The purpose of methane venting is to make mining less dangerous. However, the solution--simply blowing it into the air--wastes a valuable product and threatens the climate. All told, methane venting above West Elk releases enough gas to heat more than 35,000 homes annually and equals the amount of carbon dioxide released by a single coal-fired power plant. What's worse, the surface impacts have turned this landscape into a virtual gas field.
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