BLM to Invest in Orphaned Well Plugging and Reclamation

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds part of multi-agency effort to address orphaned wells


Bureau of Land Management

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 WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Bureau of Land Management announced it would invest funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to plug high-priority orphaned oil and gas wells on public lands in Utah and California, as part of a multi-agency effort to reduce environmental and health impacts from orphaned wells nationwide.

BLM’s allocation is part of a major investment announced today by the Department of the Interior to plug, remediate, and reclaim 277 orphaned wells in national parks, national forests, national wildlife refuges, and other public lands throughout the country. These are investments that will improve public health and safety, reduce water and air pollution, and enhance the experience for visitors to these precious lands. This is the first year of a multi-year effort funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which includes over $4.4 billion in grants to states and Tribes to plug orphaned wells and reclaim orphaned well sites on state, Tribal, and private lands.

“Orphaned wells are a legacy that we must address, as they can release methane, pollute groundwater, and pose a hazard to people and wildlife alike,” said BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning. “Millions of Americans live within a mile of an orphaned well, and many more may be recreating on federal lands near one. We are pleased to do our part to help fix the problem.”

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds will help tackle the long-standing problem of orphaned wells on our public lands by supplementing BLM's annual appropriated funding to address this problem across the nation. These efforts help communities eliminate dangerous conditions and pollution caused by past extraction activities.

Please visit our website for more information about the Federal Orphaned Well Program.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.