HARRISBURG– State Senators Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and Gene Yaw (R-23), as chairs of the Pennsylvania Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, sent a letter to all members of the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation requesting dedicated federal funding in the next stimulus bill, for the purpose of plugging abandoned and orphaned conventional oil and gas wells across the Commonwealth.
The letter notes that there are currently over 10,000 wells on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)’s Orphan Well List awaiting plugging, along with tens of thousands of additional abandoned wells that would qualify to be plugged by DEP. The lack of resources to address these wells impacts both the environment and the conventional oil and gas industry.
“The conventional oil and gas industry has been a crucial economic and employment driver in Pennsylvania for over a century,” Sen. Yaw said. “This industry, like many others, has not been immune to the effects associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, including industry-wide layoffs. Federal stimulus dollars can get many of those unemployed back to work, while at the same time plug thousands of orphaned and abandoned conventional wells across the state.”
“This kind of investment would create hundreds of needed jobs, while also eliminating some of the most damaging pollution to our environment,” Sen. Santarsiero said, noting that dedicated federal funding for this initiative would provide DEP with the necessary resources to plug the orphaned wells, protecting our environment, while supporting the conventional oil and gas industry.
“While there are many industries competing for stimulus funding, this is a ‘win-win’ situation, as both environmental advocates and industry leaders support taking action on this issue, which will also support workers who have been hard-hit during the pandemic,” continued Santarsiero.