Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement after the Department of Interior announced that it will invest $4.7 billion included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on capping abandoned gas and oil wells:
“I welcome the Biden administration’s announcement that it plans to spend nearly $5 billion to cap abandoned gas and oil wells in the United States. This will create good-paying jobs while protecting our communities from decades of toxic pollution.
“California requires gas and oil companies to pay a bond as insurance prior to drilling. However, the California Council on Science and Technology estimated in 2020 that there were more than 5,500 wells that have been abandoned or are at high risk of being abandoned in the near future.
“The cost to cap these wells would likely exceed the state’s bond program by nearly $500 million, leaving the state on the hook for rest. The funding announced today will play a major role in capping these abandoned gas and oil wells.
“I look forward to working with the administration to ensure California gets its fair share of funding to cap the abandoned wells, remove hazardous pollution and improve public health.”
In 2020, Senator Feinstein and Representative Alan Lowenthal called on the Bureau of Land Management to develop a plan to identify and cap abandoned wells on public land. These abandoned wells can contaminate groundwater and leak toxic gases like methane into the atmosphere.