Wyo. lawmakers consider orphan wells problem

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 12, 2013 at 7:53 am •  Published: December 12, 2013

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — A state legislative committee is about to hear Gov. Matt Mead's recommendations for cleaning up thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells.

The Joint Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee is scheduled to hear a presentation on the plan Thursday in Casper.

Mead proposes allocating an additional $3 million to deal with the proliferation of so-called orphan wells around the state. The vast majority are coal-bed methane wells in the Powder River Basin.

Abandoned oil and gas wells that aren't plugged and cleaned up can become an environmental hazard. Mead proposes to remediate as many as 4,400 oil and gas wells over four to seven years.

State lawmakers also will discuss a new requirement for petroleum companies to test nearby water wells for pollution before drilling for oil or gas.

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