Biden is sending more than $1 billion to states to plug abandoned oil and gas wells
The Biden administration on Monday announced it will send $1.15 billion to states to plug thousands of orphan oil and gas wells that emit methane, a potent climate-changing greenhouse gas.
Methane is a main component of natural gas and accounts for 10% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The oil and gas industry represents nearly 30% of the country’s methane emissions.
Methane is 84 times more potent than carbon and doesn’t last as long in the atmosphere before it breaks down, which makes it a significant target for reducing global warming more quickly while simultaneously working to reduce other greenhouse gases.
The funding to plug oil and gas wells comes from President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, which allocated a total of $4.7 billion to form a new federal program to address the thousands of wells abandoned across the country.
The money will go to the 26 states that submitted notices of intent to the Department of Interior last year, including more than $100 million each for Pennsylvania and Texas. Roughly 9 million people live within a mile of an abandoned oil and gas well, some of which emit harmful gases that disproportionately impact low-income communities of color in the U.S.