The US Department of the Interior has announced that US$1.15bn in funding is available to states from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to create jobs cleaning up orphaned oil and gas wells across the country.
This is a key initiative of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which allocated a total of US$4.7bn to create a new federal programme to address orphan wells. Millions of Americans across the country live within a mile of an orphaned oil and gas well.
The historic investments to clean up hazardous sites will create good-paying, union jobs, catalyse economic growth and revitalisation, and reduce dangerous methane leaks.
“President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is enabling us to confront the legacy pollution and long-standing environmental injustices that for too long have plagued underrepresented communities,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “We must act with urgency to address the more than one hundred thousand documented orphaned wells across the country and leave no community behind. This is good for our climate, for the health of our communities, and for American workers.”
Plugging orphaned wells will also help advance the goals of the US Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan, as well as the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization, which focuses on spurring economic revitalisation in the hard-hit energy communities.
Nearly every state with documented orphaned wells submitted a Notice of Intent (NOI) showing interest in applying for a formula grant to fund the proper closure and cleanup of orphaned wells and well sites.
The Department released the amount of funding that states are eligible to apply for in Phase One, which includes up to US$25mn in Initial Grant funding and a quarter of the total Formula Grant money available for the 26 states that submitted NOIs. These allocations were determined using the data provided by states from the NOIs and equally considers the following factors required by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
In the coming weeks, the Department will release detailed guidance for states to apply for the Initial Grants. These resources will allow state officials to begin building out their plugging programs, remediating high-priority wells, and collecting additional data regarding the number of orphaned wells in their states.
D&A GOM 2022
At D&A GOM 2022, the offshore community is set to reunite face-to-face to discuss the challenges and opportunities marking decommissioning and abandonment in the region, listen to sessions delving into current complex situations and network to help each other optimise their strategies. To find out more, download the brochure: https://offsnet.com/da-gom/conference-brochure
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