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Hickenlooper, Bennet Announce $25 Million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Funds to Cap Orphan Oil & Gas Wells Across Colorado

Aug 26, 2022

In addition to capping 710 leaking wells, funds will create good-paying jobs

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet today welcomed news that Colorado is receiving an initial $25 million in grant funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill to create jobs cleaning up orphaned oil and gas wells across the state. The funds were announced by the Department of the Interior and are a part of a new $4.7 billion federal program created by the infrastructure bill. In total, Colorado will receive at least $79 million in grants and formula funding from the program.

Plugging orphan wells will help reduce methane emissions. Colorado has led this effort since then-Governor Hickenlooper established the first-ever regulations for methane emissions. Colorado’s regulations became the national model established under President Obama and the Global Methane Pledge more than 100 countries have signed onto.

“Methane leaks are more dangerous than carbon dioxide to communities and the environment,” said Hickenlooper. “Now we will stop leaks and create good-paying union jobs in the process.”

“This funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, consistent with provisions in my Oil and Gas Bonding Reform and Orphaned Well Remediation Act, will help Colorado reduce harmful pollution from dangerous orphaned oil and gas wells,” said Bennet. “I welcome this much-needed support to reduce methane emissions, create good-paying jobs, protect our watersheds, and restore wildlife habitat in our state.”

Colorado will use the funds to begin plugging and remediating 710 abandoned wells identified by Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill initial grant funds.

Hickenlooper was a member of the G-22 group which negotiated and wrote the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. The funding to support programs to plug, remediate, and reclaim orphaned wells on Federal, State, and Tribal lands is also consistent with provisions in Bennet’s Oil and Gas Bonding Reform and Orphaned Well Remediation Act. Hickenlooper is a co-sponsor of the Bennet bill.

Millions of Americans live within a mile of one of the tens of thousands of documented orphaned oil and gas wells across the country. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill’s historic investments to clean up these hazardous sites will create good-paying, union jobs, catalyze economic growth and revitalization, and reduce dangerous methane leaks.

In addition to the funding announced today, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill created a $150 million Tribal orphaned well grant program and a separate $250 million program for remediation of orphan wells on federal land, which will be implemented by the Bureau of Land Management.


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