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Coal, Not Fracking Blamed for U.S. Methane Hot Spot

A tiny patch of the southwestern U.S. produces the nation’s highest concentrations of methane, the potent greenhouse gas that President Barack Obama has vowed to tackle as part of his assault on climate-change pollution.

The hot spot near the intersection of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah accounts for almost 10 percent of all methane from natural gas in the U.S., researchers said in a paper published today by the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The area, about half the size of Connecticut, is a major source of gas harvested from coal mines, according to a National Aeronautics and Space Administration statement announcing the study.