A massive escape of methane gas is underway near Baggs, Wyoming as the result of drilling coal-bed methane wells.

Coal bed methane is obtained by drilling into the aquifer in a bed of coal. Water rushes out, with lots of dissolved methane. The methane is captured. Very nice, except for the dirty water and now what at first looked like a natural geological phenomenon — emergence of methane springs.

Medium concentrations of methane are both poisonous and highly explosive !!

Methane is also a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide on a basis of equal volumes.

This is a big waste of a valuable resource.

Story in the Casper Star Tribune. What Lies Beneath.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan's Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of "Hiking Idaho." He also wrote "Beyond the Tetons" and "Backpacking Wyoming's Teton and Washakie Wilderness." He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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April 2007


‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey