Formula Grants

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law appropriates $2 billion to fund Formula Grants under the Orphaned Wells Program. Formula grants are available for various activities when the surface is owned by the state or by a private party, including, potentially, individually owned Indian properties that are held in trust by the Secretary of the Interior but fall under the state definition of ‘orphaned wells on private land’ for purposes of compliance with this section only. Funds may not be used for activities where the surface is owned by the United States or by an Indian Tribe but may be used for federal wells where the surface is owned by the state or by a private party and appropriate agreements are in place with the federal mineral manager, which has determined the well to be orphaned.

Section 40601(c)(4)(A) allows states to apply for a Formula grant up to state’s eligible amount as determined by the Department of the Interior in accordance with Section 40601(C)(4)(A)(iv) and published by the Department on January 31, 2022, or as revised in a subsequent Department publication of Formula eligibility.

As provided under Section 40601(c)(2), a state may use Formula Grant funds to:

  • plug, remediate, and reclaim orphaned wells located on State-owned or privately-owned land;
  • identify and characterize undocumented orphaned wells on State and private land;
  • rank orphaned wells based on factors including public health and safety, potential environmental harm, and other land use priorities;
  • make information regarding the use of funds received available on a public website;
  • measure and track 
    • emissions of methane and other gases associated with orphaned wells; and    
    • contamination of groundwater or surface water associated with orphaned wells;
  • remediate soil and restore native species habitat that has been degraded due to the presence of orphaned wells and associated pipelines, facilities, and infrastructure;
  • remediate land adjacent to orphaned wells and decommission or remove associated pipelines, facilities, and infrastructure;
  • identify and address any disproportionate burden of adverse human health or environmental effects of orphaned wells on disadvantaged communities, including communities of color, low-income communities, and Tribal and indigenous communities; and
  • administer the program of work identified in its grant agreement.

Additional detail on the application process and reporting requirements are provided in the Formula Grant Guidance document. If there is any discrepancy between the content of this website and the guidance document, the guidance document prevails.


Was this page helpful?

Please provide a comment