WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that the U.S. Department of Interior will dedicate an investment of over $256 million in Ohio over five years to create jobs cleaning up orphaned oil and gas wells.
Tens of thousands of Ohioans live within a mile of a documented orphaned oil and gas well, of the more than 81,000 across the country. Orphaned wells are former oil and gas wells that are no longer in use by industry.
Orphaned wells are polluting backyards, recreation areas, and public spaces across the country.
The historic investments to clean up these hazardous sites will create good-paying, union jobs, catalyze economic growth and revitalization, and reduce dangerous methane leaks.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will receive $84.8 million in immediate funding from the U.S. Department of Interior, and an estimated $256 million over five years. Funding for this investment was made possible through the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which Brown helped to write and pass.
Plugging orphaned wells will also help advance the goals of the U.S. 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 revitalization in the hard-hit energy communities.
“Communities across Ohio have stepped up to meet the challenges of this pandemic, and today the government is reaffirming its support of this efforts,” said Brown in a press release. “Cleaning up these abandoned wells will create good-paying jobs across Ohio making our communities safer and healthier. I’m glad to see the Biden administration continuing to fulfill promises by putting Ohioans first.”
According to Adam Schroeder at the ODNR Division of Oil & Gas Resources Management, “We are pleased that the federal infrastructure bill aligns with the priorities of the DeWine/Husted administration to support economic development and job creation by focusing on our natural resources including the plugging of idle and orphan wells. The ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management (division) is preparing appropriate information to be able to pursue multiple funding opportunities when the Department of the Interior releases program specifications to maximize the benefit for Ohio. Shelby County does not have any wells that are currently qualified for the program, however the division continues to vet wells that may qualify for the program according to Ohio rule and law.”