Coal Basin Climate Project

The abandoned mines in Coal Basin are leaking 1.3 million cubic feet of methane per day, but we know how to stop it.

The coal mines above Redstone in Pitkin County once provided jobs and an economic engine to our community. Now abandoned, the mines are still venting an estimated 9,000 metric tonnes of methane annually. They emit more harmful greenhouse gas emissions than residential and commercial buildings, transportation, aviation and waste in Pitkin County, combined. According to the Colorado Energy Office, these mines are one of the most significant opportunities to eliminate renegade methane in all of Colorado.

The Coal Basin Climate Project would have a large-scale climate impact. Preventing methane from escaping the Coal Basin mine complex could be the greenhouse gas equivalent of taking 500 cars off the road per day. There are multiple solutions to this problem, depending on budget, the quality of methane leaking, and permitting. The Coal Basin Methane Working Group has come together to identify the best solution – one that will protect our climate while also protecting public lands and wildlife habitat in Coal Basin, and continue restoration efforts that have been underway since the mines closed.

There is an urgent need to lower our greenhouse gas emissions and reduce pollution locally and globally. This project could do that, while conserving other values in Coal Basin like recreation and wildlife habitat.

Coal Mine Methane 101

Coal mine methane (CMM, CH4,) is released from the coal and surrounding rock strata during mining activities. Once a mine is closed or abandoned, methane can continue to escape from various portals made during the mining process and natural openings in the earth. 

Methane (CH4) emissions are 80 times more damaging than CO2 and accounted for 10 percent of all United States (U.S.) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2017.

The Coal Basin Climate Project:

CORE received $1.2M  in federal funding to support the research and development of a plan to eliminate the methane leaking from the Coal Basin mine. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 80x more damaging than CO2, and the mines at Coal Basin emit more greenhouse gasses than homes, buildings, transportation, aviation and waste in Pitkin County, combined.

Coal Basin Methane Working Group:

  • Pitkin County
  • Aspen Skiing Company
  • Holy Cross Energy
  • RFTA
  • Roaring Fork Conservancy
  • Delta Brick & Climate Company
  • Wilderness Workshop

For more information about this important project please contact:

CORE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to leading the Roaring Fork Valley to a carbon-free, net zero energy future. Under the guidance of a Board of Directors–made up of elected officials, utility representatives, and committed citizens–CORE helps people, businesses, municipalities, facilities and nonprofit organizations save natural resources and lower energy bills while reducing their carbon footprint.