The Biden administration announced this week that they will be sending over $1.15 billion to help aid in the plugging of old oil and gas wells. The reasoning behind the decision comes after it was found that these unused wells were emitting harmful gases such as methane. As a vocal activist of a greener world moving away from fossil fuels, this kind of action from the White House comes as no surprise.
Being 84 times more potent that carbon, plugging these wells sooner rather than later was an important action Biden wanted to take. According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ENECE), methane gas has a “100-year global warming potential 28-34 times that of CO2.” So where did the money come to fund such a project? The $1 billion comes from the president’s bipartisan infrastructure bill. Within the bill, $4.7 billion was allocated to fund projects that would help plug and address major problems with abandoned wells around the country. The funding will go toward 26 different states that over the past year have raised concerns and submitted notices about their wells in the area going untreated.
Between the 26 states, there are over 100,000 orphaned wells that need attention. The danger with the gases being emitted also lies with the fact that 9 million people in the United States live within only one mile of some of these wells. This project joins the line of many movements to move the world away from fossil fuels and greenhouse gases, and is a key step forward for the Biden administration in their quest to move forward with the Global Methane Pledge. This pledge, populated by over 100 countries, will try to cut methane emissions down 30% by the end of this decade.