Pennsylvania Taxpayers Paying to Plug Wells

PA DEP Releases Bid Solicitations To Plug 46 Conventional Natural Gas Wells In Armstrong, Washington Counties At Taxpayer Expense

By David E. Hess | PA Environment Digest Blog | January 5, 2023

On January 5, the Department of Environmental Protection released three more requests for bids to plug 46 conventional natural gas wells in Armstrong and Washington County through the website

These conventional wells are part of the next 198 orphan wells DEP plans to plug as part of the new federal Well Plugging Program funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.  DEP hopes to plug a total of 277 conventional wells with the first allocation of federal  funding.  Read more here.

In October, DEP released the first five invitations to bid under the program to plug 79 abandoned conventional oil and gas wells in Allegheny, Butler, McKean and Potter counties.  Read more here.

The new bid packages include–

— Armstrong County: 15 orphan conventional natural gas wells in Boggs, Cowanshannock, Valley, and Wayne Townships.  Pre-bid meeting January 18.

— Armstrong County: 17 orphan conventional natural gas wells in Bethel, Kittanning, Manor, Gilpin, and South Buffalo Townships.  Pre-bid meeting January 19. 

–Washington County: 14 orphan conventional natural gas wells in Cecil, North Franklin, Buffalo, and Canton Townships.  Pre-bid meeting January 11. 

For more information on the federal well plugging program, visit DEP’s Oil & Gas Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Program webpage.

New Well Abandonments

On December 29, DEP issued a report on conventional oil and gas operator compliance saying the most frequent environmental, health and safety violation between 2017 and through 2021 was new oil and gas well abandonments.  Read more here.

The report said conventional oil and gas drillers were issued 3,123 notices of violations for new well abandonments and 217 violations for failure to plug a well to stop the vertical flow of fluids or gas out of the well.  Read more here.

Wells abandoned by conventional operators must be plugged at taxpayer expense.  By some estimates taxpayers are now on the hook for over $5.1 billion in conventional well plugging costs.  Read more here.

The report made a series of recommendations on how to prevent new well abandonments.  Read more here.

Related Articles:

DEP Report Finds: Conventional Oil & Gas Drillers Routinely Abandon Wells; Fail To Report How Millions Of Gallons Of Waste Is Disposed; And Non-Compliance Is An ‘Acceptable Norm’  [PaEN]

— Triblive – Stephanie Ritenbaugh: Pa. gas drilling report criticizes industry for failing to report abandoned gas wells

NewsClip This Week:

— The Center Square – Anthony Hennen: DEP Report: Conventional Oil & Gas Industry Fines Total $1.3 Million, Environmental Costs Of $1.8 Billion For Taxpayers  

Related Articles This Week:

— Guest Essay: Counties, PEMA Need To Include A Complete Vulnerability Assessment Of All Natural Gas Facilities In State, County Hazard Mitigation Emergency Plans – By Cat (Cathy) Lodge, Washington County Resident  [PaEN]

[Posted: January 5, 2023]  PA Environment Digest | Source