Yaw: Senate ERE Committee Approves Grant Program to Plug Orphaned Wells

HARRISBURG – The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee approved legislation today that creates a sustainable plan to cap some of Pennsylvania’s orphaned oil and gas wells, Chairman Gene Yaw (R-23) said.

“We have hundreds of thousands of orphaned oil and gas wells that leak dangerous methane into the air we breathe every single day,” Yaw said. “This bill creates a framework for using the federal infrastructure funds awarded to Pennsylvania to tackle this problem and create a regulatory certainty that should prevent more abandonment by bankrupt operators.”

House Bill 2644 directs the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to use federal funding to create a grant program that targets abandoned wells unlikely to be chosen through the agency’s existing procurement-oriented program. The legislation would also transfer the responsibility of fixing bond amounts for well operators from the Environmental Quality Board to the General Assembly.

The DEP spends roughly $1 million annually to cap about 10 wells and has managed to remediate more than 3,300 since 1984. The agency recently told the federal government it has identified more than 26,000 wells in need of plugging, at a cost of $1.8 billion.

The legislation now advances to the full Senate for consideration.


CONTACT: Nick Troutman, 717-787-3280

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