Wyoming to Receive $25 Million to Clean Up Orphaned Wells
State and federal authorities overseeing oil and gas operations in Wyoming anticipate 25 million in federal funding to clean up wells, pipelines, pads and other related facilities left “orphaned,", according to Wyofile
There are more than 2,307 orphaned well sites in Wyoming, according to state and federal estimates.
The federal agency will tap into $250 million set aside for federal orphaned well remediation nationwide.
As $25 million in federal money from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act address abandoned oil and gas wells in Wyoming, conservationists urge the U.S. Bureau of Land Management question the financial obligations of the people who drilled the wells in the first place.
“Orphaned wells are a legacy that we must address, as they can release methane, pollute groundwater, and pose a hazard to people and wildlife alike,” BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning said in a press release.
The federal decision to clean up orphaned wells is said to benefit landowners and others who suffer environmental risks, according to advocacy groups, but the BLM argues that the cost of clean up shouldn't fall to American taxpayers.
“The people who drill the wells and profit from them are responsible for cleaning them up,” Powder River Basin Resource Council and the Western Organization of Resource Councils board member Bob LeResche said. The federal government is “doing something good for the environment and surface owners, but they’re doing it with taxpayer money, which is just wrong.”
Bob LeResche is a longtime advocate for restoring Wyoming’s iconic landscapes after drilling. He says wells abandoned by oil and gas producers pose a serious hazard for drinking water, agriculture and wildlife habitat.
The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act plans to bring more than 300 jobs to Wyoming to clean up and plug so-called orphaned oil and gas wells on public lands.
According to an AP News article, "Biden’s plan would not only create jobs, but help reduce methane and brine leaks that pollute the air and groundwater. Methane is a powerful contributor to global warming."