Fossil fuel barons pursue another way to speed ecocide.
With their sights on stores of low-grade coal beneath the coasts of England, the ranches of Wyoming, and the fields of Inner Mongolia, entrepreneurs around the world are touting the promise of yet another "unconventional" approach to energy extraction. Instead of mining the coal, the companies propose to drill into the coal seam, ignite it, and capture the "syngas"—a combination of hydrogen, carbon dioxide, and methane—produced by the oxidation underground.
Their idealized scenario:
Surely they know that once a coal seam is ignited, it can't be extinguished.
Once underway, coal fires can burn for decades, even centuries. In the process, they release large volumes of greenhouse gases, noxious fumes and soot particles into the atmosphere.
Centralia, PA, was abandoned due to coal seam fire.
Growing up not far from PA coal country, I've seen evidence of underground coal fire.
If natural gas is so valuable, why waste it by large scale flaring?
...the routine destruction of large volumes of natural gas—a useful fuel in its own right—is happening today because of economics and the challenge of getting the fuel to market. It happens when oil companies gauge that they can't make enough money by selling the natural gas to justify the cost of building the pipelines and other infrastructure to capture and deliver the fuel.
Why not make liquified natural gas, or generate electricity for the local grid, instead of just burning it uselessly?