Biden-Harris Administration Releases Final Guidance on New Orphaned Well Program

$4.7 billion investment from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help plug orphaned oil and gas wells 

Last edited 06/05/2023

Date: Tuesday, April 12, 2022 


WASHINGTON — The Department of the Interior today released final guidance to states on how to apply for the first $775 million in initial grant funding available this year for plugging orphaned oil and gas wells under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The law provides a total of $4.7 billion to clean up these environmental and safety hazards, create good-paying union jobs, catalyze economic growth and revitalization, and shut down sources of harmful methane emissions.

Millions of Americans across the country live within a mile of an orphaned oil and gas well. Orphaned wells are polluting backyards, recreation areas, and public spaces across the country.

“President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is enabling us to confront the legacy pollution and long-standing environmental injustices that for too long have plagued rural, Tribal and underrepresented communities,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “The Department is acting with urgency to address the more than 100,000 documented orphaned wells across the country and leave no community behind. This is good for our climate, for the health of our communities, and for American workers.”

The final initial grants guidance released today provides instructions to states on how to apply for initial orphaned well grants of up to $25 million under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. It also provides guidance on how states can ensure that activities funded under the program are putting people to work, protecting the environment, investing in disadvantaged communities consistent with the President’s Justice40 Initiative, and safeguarding taxpayer money in a transparent and responsible manner. This final guidance is the product of robust public feedback, including discussions with states and other stakeholders.

States will also be eligible for formula and performance grants under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Guidance for those applications will be informed by comments received on the initial grants draft guidance and will be released at a later date.


Was this page helpful?

Please provide a comment