State Orphaned Wells Program

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law creates three types of grants for the state program:

In general, a state may use funding for any of the following purposes:

  1. To plug, remediate, reclaim orphaned wells located on state and private land.
  2. To identify and characterize undocumented orphaned wells on state and private land.
  3. To rank orphaned wells based on factors including the following priorities:
    • Public health and safety,
    • Potential environmental harm and
    • Other land-use priorities.
  4. To make information regarding the use of funds received under this program available on a public website.
  5. To measure and track
    • emissions of methane and other gases associated with orphaned wells and
    • contamination of groundwater or surface water associated with orphaned wells.
  6. To remediate soil and restore native species habitat that has been degraded due to the presence of orphaned wells and associated pipelines, facilities and infrastructure. 
  7. To remediate land adjacent to orphaned wells and decommission or remove associated pipelines, facilities and infrastructure.   
  8. To identify and address any disproportionate burden of adverse human health or environmental effects of orphaned wells on communities of color, low-income communities and Tribal and indigenous communities.
  9. To administer a program to carry out any activities described above.

A state may not use more than 10% of the funds received during a fiscal year for administrative costs, with the exception of the small-scale Initial Grant.


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