This week NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory released a report on the sources of our Four Corners methane hotspot. The study confirmed that the energy industry, specifically natural gas extraction, is as a primary cause.
Methane waste on federal lands has serious negative impacts for our region:
- Methane makes a large contribution to climate change because methane is 86x more impactful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
- Methane waste results in lost royalties, which reduces funds for school, health care, and infrastructure in our communities.
- Venting, leaking, and flaring methane and associated co-pollutants threatens the health and well-being of our citizens.
Learn more about methane on our Methane Hotspot page.
The NASA study named two-dozen methane “super-emitters” in the area. Yesterday we field-tripped with colleagues from EARTHWORKS and the Sierra Club to check out some of them. We used a trusty FLIR camera to find methane emissions (leaks and intentional), which are usually invisible. We found 4 leaks on one site! Check out the videos below to see the FLIR footage in action.
Identifying these super-emitters is helpful in starting to manage our methane hotspot problem, now that we know who the big culprits are we can start holding those responsible accountable for cleanup. But a much higher percentage of the hotspot is fueled by smaller, unidentified sources all over the Four Corners – these are the sources that necessitate strong Bureau of Land Management and Environmental Protection Agency rules and regulations for methane. Without the rules we cannot eliminate the hotspot.