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Abandoned oil and gas wells to be plugged in national forest in Pennsylvania – PennLive

An abandoned gas well in Pennsylvania. (File photo)
As part of a $33 million effort to plug, remediate and reclaim abandoned oil and gas wells in national parks, national forests and other public lands, 18 wells will be capped in Allegheny National Forest in northwestern Pennsylvania,
They are among 277 “high-priority polluting wells that pose threats to human health and safety, the climate and wildlife” being targeted nationally by four bureaus within the U.S. departments of Interior and Agriculture.
The effort is part of a total of $250 million provided through the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for cleaning up orphaned wells and well sites on federal public lands, national parks, national wildlife refuges and national forests. Funding will be distributed to four agencies for work in California, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
“Millions of Americans live within a mile of hundreds of thousands of orphaned oil and gas wells. These wells jeopardize public health and safety by contaminating groundwater, seeping toxic chemicals, emitting harmful pollutants including methane, and harming wildlife,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Laura Daniel-Davis.
Agencies receiving funding will measure methane emissions before and after plugging, using a methane measurement protocol developed by a multi-agency Technical Working Group.
The Department of the Interior is also working on developing a database to collect information as wells are plugged and to capture these measurements for future Congressional reporting.
The agencies have also prioritized wells that impact disadvantaged communities in keeping with the Administration’s Justice40 initiative to deliver at least 40 percent of the benefits of climate and clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities.
The allocation comes on the heels of the Interior Department’s announcement of $775 million in grant funding to states made earlier this year to address orphaned oil and gas wells on public and private lands.
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