Bipartisan Bill Would Create Thousands of Jobs While Cutting Pollution from Unused, Leaking Oil and Gas Wells

Representatives Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX) and Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) introduced the Revive Economic Growth and Reclaim Orphaned Wells (REGROW) Act of 2021 to eliminate environmental hazards from old and leaking oil and gas wells and support tens of thousands of jobs. This bill, a mirror to the Senate counterpart, makes more than $4.6 billion in federal funding available to federal agencies, states and tribes to plug and remediate orphaned oil and gas wells.

There are more than 56,000 documented inactive orphaned wells with no responsible party for cleanup across the U.S. potentially causing local environmental hazards to groundwater and emitting methane and other harmful pollution. Plugging, or permanently sealing, these wells creates an important environmental benefit while stimulating local economies.

“The introduction of the REGROW Act in the House is an important demonstration of bipartisanship that supports local economic development and addresses environmental hazards. EDF applauds Representatives Fletcher and Armstrong for introducing this bill and appreciates the variety of legislative solutions on the table to create jobs and protect local communities from air, water and climate pollution by addressing the orphan wells crisis in America. More than 100,000 oil and gas workers have lost their jobs in the past year and this effort will put people back to work while creating a healthier environment. “This bill will ensure every documented orphan well in the U.S. is plugged. It will also help identify and catalogue the hundreds of thousands of other improperly abandoned wells across the country. And it will ensure that when wells are plugged, they are plugged properly. This is an important piece of the overarching reforms – including reforms to bonding and other policies that prevent wells from becoming orphaned in the future – needed to reduce the environmental impact of the oil and gas industry.”

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