WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Senators Mike Braun and Bob Casey (D-PA) introduced the Orphan Well Grant Flexibility Act, a piece of legislation designed to empower states to maximize their operational flexibility within the Energy Policy Act of 2005 dedicated to plugging abandoned oil wells. These orphaned oil wells, often abandoned and unchecked for years, can pose serious environmental hazards by leeching toxic chemicals into soil and contaminate essential water resources. Senators Braun and Casey are joined by senators Cruz, Lee, Risch,Marshall, Mullin, Moran, Crapo, Schmitt, Lankford, Fetterman, and Brown in this effort.
In Indiana, there have been 1,459 reports of abandoned wells in need of remediation.
“Abandoned oil wells pose an overlooked yet serious threat to local communities’ ground and water resources. I’m proud to cosponsor this bill that cuts the red tape and allows states to fast-track remediation of these orphaned wells which will ultimately protect the residents that live by them.” — Senator Braun
“The federal government has provided ample resources to help states clean up and plug abandoned oil wells across the country. “However, bureaucratic red tape has hindered our ability to put those funds to good use and get to work. Our legislation will remove needless testing requirements so we can start cleaning up the over 5,000 abandoned wells across Kansas.” — Senator Marshall
“When we passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, we made a $4.7 billion federal investment in remediating the orphan wells that have polluted our air and water and endangered our natural resources. Our bill will make it easier for states like Pennsylvania to use these funds so we can not only clean up more of these environmental hazards but stimulate our economy by creating good-paying jobs.” — Senator Casey
“I am proud to lead the effort with Senator Braun to remove power from unelected Washington bureaucrats in dictating how abandoned orphan wells must be plugged. This bill will empower state governments like Texas with flexibility they need to make the best decisions for their constituents.” — Senator Cruz
“The Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission supports the Orphan Well Grant Flexibility Act and urges Congress to pass this important legislation. This bill eliminates barriers to orphan well plugging efforts and optimizes each state’s resources and efficiencies in achieving the goal of addressing orphan wells.”— Lori Wrotenbery, Executive Director of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.
Click HERE to read full bill text.
Orphan, or abandoned wells, are oil or gas wells that have been abandoned by fossil fuel companies and have no legal owners. These old wells, either unplugged or improperly plugged, let contaminants into surrounding lands and waters, can leak methane and other harmful air pollutants, and can reduce property values by 12%. Today, 14 million people are living within half a mile of an orphaned well, and 100 thousand new orphan wells are discovered each year.
- 38 state members: The Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission
- Well Done Foundation
- Independent Petroleum Association of America
- Earth and Water Group
- The Boone and Crockett Club
- The Groundwater Foundation
- National Ground Water Association
- Heritage Action Group
- National Conference of State Legislatures
- Wildlife Management Institute
- Bipartisan Policy Center Action
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