Methane is a simple alkaline compound, which is an important part of natural gas. Its chemical formula is CH4 and it is a colorless and odorless gas. Methane burned in the presence of oxygen produces water and carbon dioxide. The symptoms of methane gas exposure are not seen, as soon as the person comes in contact with the gas. The symptoms take a certain amount of time before they are seen, as methane is less dense than air.

100-year global warming potential of methane is 28, while the 20-year global warming potential is 104. What this means is that in 100 or 20 years time, methane will trap heat 28 or 104 times more than CO2.

The global concentration of methane in pre-industrial times, i.e. from 1750 to 1850 is 722 ppbC, in 2011, this concentration has risen to 1800 ppbC, and 1850ppbC in 2018, Figure 1. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) in 2011 set up 2 test stations in Denver and Platteville respectively, the result of the study shows an elevated concentration above the natural average in Denver from 2303 ppbC in 2157 and 2107 ppbC 2017. As bad as this may sound, the average concentration in Platteville is 2944 ppbC in 2011 and 2661 ppbC in 2017, Figure 2.

Figure 1. Global Monthly Mean Methane in the Atmosphere
Figure 2. Annual Mean Methane in the Atmosphere as measured by CDPHE
Figure 1. Global Monthly Mean Methane in the Atmosphere
Figure 2. Annual Mean Methane in the Atmosphere as measured by CDPHE

It will be interesting if more test stations are positioned statewide, especially in areas where there are less oil and gas activities, in other to account for the impact of methane vented into the atmosphere by the oil and gas company. It is, however, noteworthy to mention that there is 1517 active tank battery according to Colorado Oil and gas Conservative Commission, (COGCC), a major source of man-made methane to the atmosphere in the state of Colorado. Weld County, the district I will be representing when elected has 1248 of the 1517 tank battery statewide, what this means is Weld County has 82.26% of the Well Battery in the entire state of Colorado, hence accounting for the higher elevation of methane concentration in Platteville compared to Denver.
Aside from the global warming effect of methane, methane has numerous effect on Human and environment, according to the event of the Firestone House Explosion and studies carried out by Center for Biological Diversity, few of this effects are listed below:

1. It can lead to a house explosion, hence killing the occupants, think about the House explosion in Firestone in 2017.
2. It’s an asphyxiant, Exposure to high levels of methane gas depletes the oxygen level in the body, causing difficulty in breathing and suffocation.
3. Headaches may be triggered by getting exposed to methane gas. This sign was also observed in the school in Texas, where a methane gas blast killed about 300 students and faculty members.
4. If the oxygen level in the body depletes to anything less than 12%, the person can become unconscious and prove to be lethal in some cases.
5. Since the levels of oxygen in the body deplete, the body tries to make it up by using the oxygen contained in the bodily fluids. This basically leads to dehydration.
6. Nausea and vomiting are also methane gas poisoning symptoms. There are chances that a person can collapse due to exposure to methane gas.
7. Another symptom is heart palpitations. It causes an uncomfortable sensation of the heart beating rapidly, abnormally and out of sequence.
8. Due to the depletion of oxygen in the body, it gives rise to cognitive problems. The person is inattentive, has memory loss and poor judgment. These symptoms aggravate when the exposure to this gas is more.
9. Exposure to methane gas also causes dizziness and blurred vision. This symptom reduces when the person moves away from the area that is high in methane gas concentration.
10. It also causes lack of motor coordination. Even in the most familiar surroundings, the person will knock things around. There are chances, that the person will drop things he has picked up, more often.

 

Several activist groups in Colorado such as Sierra Club whose endorsement and support I seek has kept an eye on the impact and effect of methane pollution in the atmosphere. In their publication titled the threat of oil & gas pollution, they reported 51,273 active oil and gas wells including Compressors and Processors in the state of Colorado, in similar trend Weld County accounted for 22,382, that is 43.65% of all the facilities in the state of Colorado.
As an Engineer with strong background in Oil and Gas, I understand the importance and benefit of this sector to the economy, I have benefitted immensely from this sector, I relocated to Colorado because of my job in this field, but I am also a scientist that doesn’t need to be educated on the impact of our activities on the planet earth. As I have argued earlier, our ancestors enjoyed a less disturb environment than we do, this problem can be solved if we have the political will, and we can still keep the jobs, what I am suggesting here is a responsible Government and a responsible oil and gas operators, we can together reverse the adverse impact we are contributing to the environment and leave the planet in a better shape to our Children and Grandchildren.
I like to be part of the solution and not just pointing out the problems, I have decided to run for office as the next State Representative of House District 48 in Weld County. Weld County needs engineers with strong background in the problem that is major to it, I urge the citizens of Weld County and the State of Colorado, to throw their support behind my candidacy, donate to the campaign if you cannot vote, and together we can solve the problems facing us.

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