– Working to increase the number of orphan wells being plugged in the Commonwealth, the General Assembly has passed and the governor signed into law new measures to help achieve that goal, said Rep. Martin Causer (R-Cameron/McKean/Potter), a leading advocate of the measure.
Act 136 of 2022
builds on a law Causer authored earlier this year creating a grant program for entities that plug abandoned wells. Under the new law, grants of $40,000 will be awarded for plugging wells with a depth of less than 3,000 feet, or the actual cost to the well plugger, whichever is less. Grants of $70,000, or the actual cost, whichever is less, will be provided for plugging wells deeper than 3,000 feet.
“We haven’t been making much of a dent in plugging the more than 200,000 orphan wells estimated to exist in the Commonwealth,” Causer said. “Some years, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) 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.”
In addition, Act 136 requires DEP to allow any Pennsylvania company to bid for a contract it will award for well plugging, regardless of the size of the company. A Pennsylvania company would be defined as a business that has its main offices or headquarters in the Commonwealth and conducts at least 50% of its business activities here, or one that will bid for contracts for plugging oil or gas wells and subcontract the work through a competitive bidding process.
The law takes effect in 60 days.