Policy Briefing: Remediation of Orphan Oil & Gas Wells in COVID-19 Stimulus

by Tim Donaghy

April 28, 2020

The U.S. federal government should provide funding to close the backlog of orphaned oil and gas wells in need of remediation, while at the same time greatly strengthening policies to ensure that no oil or gas well drilled today will become orphaned in the future.

© Les Stone / Greenpeace

A new policy briefing from Greenpeace USA calls on Congress to provide funding to close the backlog of orphaned oil and gas wells, strengthen policies around well bonding and retirement, and ensure strong labor standards for workers.

Download the full policy briefing here.

Summary

The U.S. federal government should provide funding to close the backlog of orphaned oil and gas wells in need of remediation, while at the same time greatly strengthening policies to ensure that no oil or gas well drilled today will become orphaned in the future. Additionally, the federal government should provide funding to review and, where necessary, re-plug older wells that were plugged before modern standards were put in place. Such policies would create or maintain thousands of jobs and provide stimulus in regions that have historically depended on employment in the oil and gas sector, while removing hazards to public health and safety, and reducing carbon emissions.

Federal stimulus should only be enacted in tandem with strong labor standards for workers and strong reforms to the current dysfunctional well bonding and retirement system.

Tim Donaghy

By Tim Donaghy

Tim Donaghy is a Senior Research Specialist with Greenpeace USA. He writes frequently about climate change, offshore oil drilling, energy production, and the Arctic.

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