Orphan Wells Legislation Would Create Jobs While Cutting Pollution

EDF Statement from Elizabeth Gore, Senior Vice President, Political Affairs

April 8, 2021
Shira Langer, (202) 572-3254, slanger@edf.org

Representative Teresa Leger Fernández today introduced legislation that would provide funds to plug orphan wells across the country and, for wells under federal jurisdiction, address the underlying policies that allow wells to become orphaned. Orphan wells are oil and gas wells that have no owner.
There are more than 56,000 documented orphan wells with no responsible party for cleanup across the U.S. that are potentially polluting groundwater as well as contributing to harmful climate and air pollution. Plugging, or permanently sealing, orphan wells creates an important environmental benefit while stimulating local economies.

“EDF applauds this robust effort to create jobs, reduce climate impacts, protect local communities from air and water pollution, and limit the creation of future orphan wells. In addition to funding the plugging of every documented orphan well in the country, the bill facilitates the discovery and plugging of other orphan wells, and introduces important policy reforms for wells under federal jurisdiction to reduce future orphan well burden. This bill, which will create jobs in traditional oil and gas communities, is an important part of a just energy transition, growing local economies while solving old environmental problems.” 

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