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Methane Hotspot Detected Over Four Corners: San Juan Citizens Alliance Weighs In

NASA-JPL Caltech
NASA used a spectrometer to analyze sources of methane in the Four Corners area, and used this image to map a leaking pipeline. NASA says the pipeline leak was reported to the pipeline company, who shut down the well and repaired the leak.

When scientists first discovered a methane hot spot over the Four Corners, it was so large they assumed that their satellite detection technology had malfunctioned.


But subsequent studies by scientists with NASA and the University of Michigan confirmed that in fact, the methane plume over the four corners has the largest concentration of methane in the Country. A study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences identified 250 sources of pollution and said as much as two-thirds of the methane could be spewing from just 25 locations--mostly leaking industry infrastructure.


According to the Denver Post, “Industry groups called the study a good first step but said its scope was narrow, stating further that energy companies want to minimize leaking methane because it’s the product they sell, and that natural gas producers have reduced emissions while increasing production.”

KSJD’s Jeff Pope and Gail Binkly talked to Emily Bowie, an organizer with the San Juan Citizens Alliance, to discuss the issue.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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