Monday, January 31, 2022

DEP Receives First $25 Million From Federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law For Plugging Oil & Gas Wells Abandon By Conventional Drillers

On January 31, Gov. Wolf announced Pennsylvania was awarded its initial allocation of $25 million from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to plug oil and gas wells abandon by conventional well drillers.

DEP is expected to receive over $395 million in conventional well plugging funds over the next 15 years.

“Today’s announcement from the Biden Administration is welcome relief,​ and I’m pleased that the president shares my commitment to addressing this legacy issue,” said Gov. Wolf. “​Addressing Pennsylvania’s orphaned and abandoned gas and oil wells will not only support our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but it will create a cleaner local ecosystem at each well site and energize the economy of our entire Commonwealth.”

Pennsylvania is home to tens of thousands of orphaned and abandoned wells. These wells have the potential to pollute backyards, recreational areas, and public spaces, and frequently release methane, a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential more than 28 times that of carbon dioxide. 

This initial $25 million investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will support plugging the wells to address environmental, health, and safety concerns.

The Wolf Administration looks forward to working with the Department of Interior to put the resources announced today to work to enhance the state’s well plugging program and immediately remediate high-priority wells.

Conventional oil and gas well drillers abandon between 200,000 and 300,000 wells that taxpayers have to clean up. Read more here.

To learn more, visit DEP’s Abandoned & Orphan Well Program webpage.

Doing More To Prevent More Abandoned Wells

There are more attempts every year by conventional oil and gas well drillers to abandoned wells without plugging them.

Conventional oil and gas well drillers tried to abandon wells without plugging them 813 times in 2019 and 2020.  Read more here.

DEP has only $15 per well in bonds on hand to deter future abandoned wells from existing oil and gas well owners.  Read more here.

There are rulemaking petitions now before the Environmental Quality Board to increase oil and gas well bonding amounts in-line with the taxpayer cost to plug them to deter future abandon wells.  Read more here.

It makes no sense to keep plugging wells at taxpayer expense when conventional oil and gas drillers attempt to abandon new wells without plugging them.

Related Articles:

-- DEP Outlines 2022 Priorities: Make Up Deficit In Oil & Gas Funding; Get Resources Needed To Invest New Federal Mine Reclamation, Oil & Gas Well Plugging Funds

-- In 2021 Initiatives By The Biden Administration, Congress Make Historic Investments In Cleaning Up PA’s Environment; How To Invest $11 Billion Remains Up In The Air

[Posted: January 31, 2022]  PA Environment Digest

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