Reps. Thompson and Carbajal Introduce Bill to Provide Resources for Oil and Gas Remediation

July 29, 2021
Press Release

Washington, DC — Congressman Glenn "GT" Thompson (PA-15) and Congressman Salud Carbajal (CA-24) introduced the Plugging Orphan Wells and Environmental Restoration (POWER) Act. The POWER Act (H.R. 4781) reauthorizes the federal orphan well remediation program under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 for five years at $50 million per year.

In addition, the bill would establish a new grant program for environmental restoration and reclamation of orphaned wells on state, private, and tribal lands and authorizes $400 million per year for this purpose for five years.

"Nationally, there are an estimated 560,000 orphaned wells and more than 8,700 in Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth’s oil and gas sites ushered in the modern petroleum industry, which led the United States to become a global power and today, energy independent. The POWER Act will help accelerate environmental restoration while providing an economic benefit throughout oil and gas producing regions," said Congressman Thompson. "This is good policy for both the environment and jobs in Pennsylvania."

“This is the right bill at the right time. The plugging of orphaned wells is a win for the environment and it helps get displaced workers back on the job”, said David Clark, President of the Pennsylvania Grade Crude Coalition. "The timing could not be better, this legislation will save jobs while also protecting the environment through plugging this ancient classification of wells that time has forgotten. The plugging of the wells will reduce the potential of pollution of surface and subsurface waters as well as reduce fugitive methane emissions."

Safety and environmental protection are top priorities for our industry, and we operate under strict standards and practices to ensure that American energy is produced responsibly from start to finish. Our industry is fully committed to complying with state and federal requirements for abandoned wells and reclaiming wells sites. We will continue to support new efforts like the POWER Act which aims to help address orphaned wells, which will build upon our industry’s progress to reduce methane emissions from operations.” – API SVP of Policy, Economics and Regulatory Affairs Frank Macchiarola.