HARRISBURG – Recognizing the high volume of abandoned or “orphaned” oil and gas wells across the Commonwealth, the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee on Tuesday approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Martin Causer (R-Cameron/McKean/Potter) that aims to boost the plugging of those wells.
“As the Commonwealth is slated to receive additional funding for well plugging through the federal infrastructure bill, it is important we get the most for our money – the taxpayers’ money – and plug as many wells as possible,” Causer said. “Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) officials have acknowledged how cumbersome the process is currently, so the time is right to explore other options.”
House Bill 2644
would create a program to provide grants to companies that work to plug some of the Commonwealth’s orphan wells. DEP would direct 20% of the funds it receives from the federal government toward the grant program, while the remaining funding would be used for its existing well-plugging program.
Grants of $10,000 would be awarded for plugging wells of 3,000 feet or less in depth, and grants of $20,000 would be awarded for plugging wells more than 3,000 feet deep.
The bill also would address well bonding amounts by fixing the current bonding amounts for conventional wells that are in law and making it clear the Environmental Quality Board cannot adjust these amounts by regulation.
The committee also approved House Bill 2528
, which would boost the use of Pennsylvania-based businesses in the process of plugging wells.
The measure now goes to the full House for consideration.
Representative Martin T. Causer
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Patricia A. Hippler