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The money is ready to be released to start working on the abandoned oil wells.

Federal agencies have reached an understanding, which will kick off a $4.7 billion campaign to clean-up orphaned oil and gas wells that were abandoned years ago by the energy industry, former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who now is the president’s infrastructure czar, said during a White House press conference Tuesday. “Millions of us, millions, live within a mile of hundreds of thousands of orphan wells that leak and spew. These wells jeopardize public health and safety by contaminating ground water, seeping toxic chemicals, emitting harmful pollutants including methane,” Landrieu told reporters. “Cleaning it up will take an all-government approach.” He was named Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator by President Joe Biden to handle the roll-out of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that is spending more than has been spent in a generation to fix and upgrade roads, bridges, airports and other pieces of the nation’s long neglected infrastructure.

The money is for the abandoned wells and we do need them capped and cleaned up.

The law includes $4.7 billion to cleanup orphan well sites, plugging remediation and restoration activities. But the first step was to work out a “memorandum of understanding” between the federal Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, and Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission that would detail how the work that would be done and identify which agency responsible for what tasks. “I have seen firsthand how the orphaned oil and gas wells left behind by extractive industries lead to hazardous pollution, water contamination, and safety hazards for our communities,” said Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland said Tuesday in a press release. “The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is poised to make critical investments to help clean up this legacy pollution – and it will take an all-of-government approach to implement the program.” Louisiana is one of 26 states that requested funding. In the energy industry, wells that produce oil and natural gas are often sold from one firm to another over time. Many – 4,605 in Louisiana – have been abandoned and their last owners unfound or unable to afford the clean up. Some of the wells have been threatening the woods and streams around them. Louisiana is seeking a grant to help pay the estimated $401.7 million cost of plugging the orphaned wells.

The money is going to 26 states and Louisiana is not the one with the most need.

The Interior Department estimates that the 26 states seeking grant money reported a total of more than 130,000 orphan wells. Based on the state’s estimates, it would be asking an average of $87,000 for each well it has listed as orphaned. However, the money set aside in the infrastructure bill would only be enough to pay an average $36,000 per well, if all 130,000 abandoned wells identified by Interior were funded. States applying for funding included Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming, according to the memo.

It is good to have this money available for use in this clean up.

Orphan wells ready to be cleaned up