Governor Newsom Signs Bill Fixing Main Cause of Oil Industry “Orphan Wells”

AB 1167 (Carrillo) helps protect taxpayers from billions of dollars in cleanup costs for the tens of thousands of oil wells most at risk of becoming abandoned while preventing environmental impacts risking the health of neighboring communities

October 7, 2023
Anthony Matthews, (202) 297-3830,
Elaine Labalme, (412) 996-4112,

SACRAMENTO, October 7, 2023 – Environmental Defense Fund today praised Governor Gavin Newsom’s signature of AB 1167, which requires companies purchasing marginally productive oil wells to file with the state a bond or financial assurance sufficient to cover well plugging and site restoration costs.

Statement from Katelyn Roedner Sutter, California State Director at Environmental Defense Fund.

“This critical reform sends a clear message to the oil and gas industry: You must cover the cost of cleaning up and closing down your old wells. By updating oil industry laws dating back almost a century, the bill helps protect taxpayers from orphan well cleanup costs while paving the way to a more just transition away from fossil fuels. It helps address the main cause of orphaned oil wells that produce emissions contributing to climate change, cancer clusters in nearby communities, and taxpayer exposure to billions of dollars in cleanup costs. As marginally productive wells are increasingly sold to companies without the resources to retire them, we now have an insurance policy if they go bankrupt and disappear.”

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