The U.S. Senate this week passed the Revive Economic Growth and Reclaim Orphaned Wells (REGROW) Act, a bipartisan bill co-sponsored by ND Senator Kevin Cramer and Senator Ben Ray Luján, D-NM.
If it ultimately becomes law, the bill would provide $4.275 billion to plug and remediate the nation’s orphaned oil and gas wells. The legislation is now part of the Senate infrastructure package, which is headed for the House of Representatives. In addition to its nationwide funding for reclamation work, the bill would also specifically provide $400 million for orphaned well cleanup on public and tribal lands, as well as $32 million for related research, development and implementation.
“The REGROW Act is a pro-jobs and pro-natural resources piece of legislation that would put unemployed oilfield workers back on the job where they can use their skillsets to prevent environmental hazards and make the land in their communities productive again,” Senator Cramer said. “North Dakota showed the nation how to create an orphaned wells remediation program, and now the federal legislation built on our state’s innovative thinking is one step closer to becoming law."
REGROW Act supporters including the ND Department of Mineral Resources, Independent Petroleum Association of America, and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.
“I applaud Senator Cramer’s work to include the REGROW Act in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that passed the US Senate,” said DMR Director Lynn Helms. “This investment in the environment and in skilled oil and gas workers will provide a resource for states with idle and orphaned wells to address a growing concern while at the same time encouraging those states to review their existing regulatory framework and find solutions to prevent the concern from growing.”
Click here to read a DMR white paper on North Dakota's abandoned wells.
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