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Legislation addressing orphaned wells becomes law
BY MELINA DRUGA | NOVEMBER 9, 2022
Gov. Tom Wolf recently signed into law legislation that will increase the number of orphan wells being plugged in Pennsylvania.
Act 136 of 2022 creates a grant program for plugging abandoned wells. The program would award grants of $40,000 for wells with a depth of less than 3,000 feet, or the actual cost, whichever is less; and grants of $70,000 for plugging wells deeper than 3,000 feet, or the actual cost, whichever is less.
The law also requires the Department of Environmental Protection to allow any Pennsylvania company to bid for a well-plugging contract, regardless of the size of the company. To qualify, a business must have its main offices or headquarters in Pennsylvania and conduct at least 50 percent of its business activities in the state.
“We haven’t been making much of a dent in plugging the more than 200,000 orphan wells estimated to exist in the Commonwealth,” state Rep. Martin Causer (R-Cameron/McKean/Potter), who advocated for the bill, said. “Some years, the Department of Environmental Protection is plugging as few as five. Increasing grant funds available for well plugging using federal infrastructure money should accelerate our well-plugging efforts, benefitting both the environment and our communities.”
The law takes effect in 60 days.
Legislation addressing orphaned wells becomes law - Pennsylvania Business Report (pennbizreport.com)