Press Releases

Hickenlooper, Bennet Welcome $79 Million in Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Funds to Cap Orphan Oil & Gas Wells Across Colorado

Jan 31, 2022

In addition to capping leaking wells, funds will create thousands of good paying jobs

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet today welcomed news that Colorado can expect $79 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.

Hickenlooper was a member of the G-22 group who 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.

“These abandoned sites are dangerous for Colorado communities and release harmful methane into the atmosphere,” said Hickenlooper. “Now we’ll create jobs by capping and remediating abandoned wells.”

“I’m thrilled to welcome this funding from the IIJA to help clean up dangerous and polluting orphaned oil and gas wells,” said Bennet. “This funding, which is consistent with provisions in my Oil and Gas Bonding Reform and Orphaned Well Remediation Act, will reduce harmful methane pollution, create good-paying jobs and economic opportunities, and restore wildlife habitat in Colorado.”

Colorado has 625 abandoned wells, and as many as 19,000 oil and gas wells that are producing less than the equivalent of two barrels of oil per day.

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.

Colorado will receive $39 million in initial grants and can expect a total of $79 million. These grants allow state officials to begin building plugging programs, remediating high-priority wells, and collecting additional data on the number of orphaned wells in the states.  

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.

For a fact sheet on how the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill will impact Colorado,CLICK HERE.

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