According to Haaland, “they litter the countryside with rusted and dangerous equipment, creating both a risk to human safety and a menace to the local animals.” “Many of these wells have been abandoned in backyards and other recreation places, as well as in community spaces and schools in the surrounding neighbourhood.”
Ed and Mary Vojtas, the homeowners, watched what was going on in their backyard. Later in this month, the well that is located behind their home will be capped thanks to funding provided by the Infrastructure Law. Check more in the post.
State going to fill the well
Mary Vojtas, who stated that she would frequently get requests from passersby to take the rusting metal tank and pipes beside her house for scrap metal, said that she is delighted that it is gone. “I’m happy that it’s leaving,” she added. She never bowed to pressure. When she learned that the state was going to fill the well, it brought a sense of relief to her.
“I said, Thank you, God. Since I believe in God, I prayed constantly that we would be able to get rid of it. In addition to being an eyesore, the wells have the potential to pollute groundwater and produce methane, a greenhouse gas that is 72 times more effective than carbon dioxide at storing heat over a period of 20 years.
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2 million abandoned wells
After sources like as agriculture, oil and gas drilling, and landfills, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that the nation’s 2 million abandoned wells are the 10th largest source of methane emissions. The state of Pennsylvania tops the country with more than 20,000 defunct wells.
At the occasion, Rich Negrin, who is acting as the secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, stated that the state of Pennsylvania is in desperate need of the money that will be received as part of the infrastructure package.
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More than 27,000 wells without owner
We are aware that there are 27,000 wells in Pennsylvania that are either unknown or have no known owners. Those are the ones about which we have information. And we are well aware that this is really the tip of the iceberg,” Negrin stated.
There are a variety of different estimates regarding the exact number of abandoned wells in the state, which boasts the distinction of being the location of the world’s first commercial oil well, which was drilled in 1859. According to the DEP, there are perhaps 200,000 wells in Pennsylvania that have not been accounted for.
$23 Million allotted
According to Negrin, the agency is utilising the initial allotment of $23 million from the law that was given to the state in order to plug 235 wells this year. During the past eight years, on average, roughly 18 wells have been drilled each year. Negrin acknowledged that despite this accomplishment, businesses in Pennsylvania still have the option of closing down their existing wells.
According to a report compiled by the DEP, the state has issued more than 3,000 fines to businesses over the course of the previous five years for abandoning wells. Former Governor Tom Wolf requested the review because he was opposed to a bill that would have allowed federal money to be used for well filling, but he allowed the bill to pass into law without signing it. The investigation uncovered what the state refers as as
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The genuine cause for concern
By increasing the minimum amount of bonding that is required of oil and gas firms in order to drill new wells, the measure was successful in thwarting an effort to make it more difficult for businesses to abandon wells. The current bond, which is money that companies are required to set aside for cleaning up their wells once they are no longer productive, is $2,500 for a shallow conventional well and $10,000 for a “unconventional” Marcellus shale well.
This difference is because shallow conventional wells are easier to clean up than unconventional Marcellus shale wells. According to the DEP, the amount of money necessary to actually seal off a well is $68,000. According to Negrin, that is not a scenario that can be maintained. Sealing off difficult-to-reach wells can cost as much as $100,000 or more, however the exact amount will vary depending on how accessible the well is.
Negrin characterised it as “a genuine cause for concern.” “The total quantity of that bonding actually needs to reflect the reality of the practical impacts of where those wells are located,” said the expert. “There are a lot of wells. It is imperative that we contact them.”