CORE can take step toward methane reduction with big donation

Audrey Ryan
The Aspen Times
CORE CEO Dallas Blaney announces $500,000 donation to Coal Basin Methane Project. | Courtesy photo
Courtesy Photo

Atlantic Aviation announced a $500,000 donation to the Community Office for Resource Efficiency’s Coal Basin project at a press conference last Friday.

The Coal Basin Methane Project is in response to the urgent need to lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce local pollution, they said. The abandoned coal mines above Redstone in Pitkin County are estimated to vent 9,000 tons of methane yearly. That’s more greenhouse gas emissions than from residential and commercial buildings, transportation, aviation and waste in Pitkin County combined.

“One thing I really want to underscore here is that — at least from my perspective — this isn’t a donation to CORE, this is an investment in our community. Because the methane we’re going to destroy up in Coal Basin will pay dividends for generations to come,” said Dallas Blaney, CORE’s chief executive officer.

Clive Lowe, executive vice president of Atlantic Aviation, said one important thing for their organization is recognizing they are citizens and employ people who grew up in these locations, and aligning their interest with what is important to their employees and their communities is at the core of their beliefs.

“This CORE Program and the Coal Basin are a really good example of public, private and nonprofit partnership that works, making impact not only locally, but global impacts that will help all of us,” said Brian Corbett, chief commercial and sustainability officer at Atlantic Aviation.

This donation is not Atlantic Aviation’s first step toward being more environmentally conscience. In the valley especially, sustainability has been a major initiative for the past five to 10 years, Corbett said.

Aspen-Pitkin County Airport, where Atlantic Aviation has a fixed-based operation, is completely carbon neutral, thanks to their steady supply of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The airport uses a 30% SAF and 70% jet fuel blend to fuel their engines, and SAF is being used at the airport on a daily basis, Atlantic Aviation ASE General Manager Jonathan Jones said.

Additionally, they offset every gallon of commercial and general aviation jet fuel, meaning they pay extra for each gallon of fossil fuel they purchase and it goes toward reducing their carbon footprint. A lot of people do not trust the money goes to the right places, but Atlantic Aviation works with a program that allows them to track their dollars down to the project to see what they are actually doing, Corbett said.

A Friday press conference brought together community members and CORE and Atlantic Aviation professionals to announce the donation and answer questions. One question was about the term “greenwashing,” which is thrown around often when it comes to sustainability. Greenwashing is when a company deceives the public into believing their products or, in this case, donation, have a greater positive environmental impact than they do.

“This is not greenwashing. This is actually supporting a project that’s important to our local team that’s important to the community that we serve and is going to make big impacts and, again, we’re not doing it so we get the credit. We’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do,” Corbett said. “It’s completely aligned with our culture and our mission as a company.”

The funding from Atlantic Aviation, paired with funding from Pitkin County, allows CORE to move forward with the next stage of the project: measuring the volume of methane originating from the mine.

“This CORE program and the Coal Basin are a really good example of public, private and nonprofit partnership that works, making impacts not only locally, but global impacts that will help all of us,” Corbett said. “We’re thrilled to be part of this.”

To reach Audrey Ryan, email her at

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