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Letters to the Herald

Fund plugging of abandoned wells


Methane is one of the world’s largest contributors to climate change. In Pennsylvania, a significant contributor to methane emissions is orphaned and abandoned oil and gas wells. These wells are supposed to be properly closed to prevent water and air pollution, but since Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry was largely unregulated before the 1950s, most older wells were never plugged.

There are estimated to be hundreds of thousands of undocumented, unplugged wells across the commonwealth, and many have no solvent owner of record, so the cleanup liability is often passed on to the state and federal government.

In his most recent budget address, Gov. Shapiro called for $11 million to identify and plug abandoned wells. This will help make a serious dent in Pennsylvania’s abandoned well backlog and free up federal funding for methane mitigation. But with each well costing roughly $100,000 to plug, this funding will not be sufficient.

Maximizing state funding for abandoned well plugging will open up an entire new industry for workforce development, primarily for construction laborers, truck drivers, and heavy machine operators.

State legislators must commit to appropriating as much funding as possible for Pennsylvania’s new methane mitigation industry.

Tim Hayes, Dublin Borough

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