Kentucky to receive nearly $104 million for orphaned oil and gas well cleanup

Kentucky is set to receive nearly $104 million dedicated to cleaning up orphaned oil and gas wells across the Commonwealth from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced on Wednesday.

The historical legislation passed in November of last year will provide Kentucky with $550 billion of new federal investments in infrastructure over the next five years, including money for traditional infrastructure such as roads, bridges, mass transit, rail, airports, ports, and waterways. 

Kentucky has over 14,000 orphaned well sites, representing nearly 18% of all the orphaned wells in the nation, which can pollute outdoor areas and create an environmental hazard for nearby communities. The cleanup efforts aim to help improve Kentucky’s air and water and increase property values while creating jobs for Kentuckians.

“The abandoned oil and gas wells littered across Kentucky are a liability to our Commonwealth, providing no jobs or output. This is a problem in nearly every county, but until now, our local governments have not had the funding required to complete cleanup projects on a large scale,” said Senator McConnell. “With today’s funding announcement, Kentucky communities will have the necessary resources to launch new cleanup projects and create Kentucky jobs. I supported last year’s landmark bipartisan infrastructure bill precisely because of programs like this that fund solutions to the long-overlooked problems affecting the Commonwealth.”

“This grant will allow us to make great progress in locating and capping these abandoned wells,” Gov. Beshear said. “Cleaning up these wells helps our environment and economy by creating good-paying jobs in communities that need them.”

“The Kentucky Oil and Gas Association (KOGA) applauds Leader McConnell for championing the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, which includes critical funding to plug legacy abandoned and orphan wells across the nation,” said Ryan Watts, KOGA Executive Director. “Outperforming most states, Kentucky has done a superb job of locating, categorizing, and plugging legacy orphan wells. Thanks to Senator McConnell and this appropriation, Kentucky is well-positioned to continue its successful efforts of plugging many additional legacy wells and remediate their surface impact.”

Stay tuned for more news on infrastructure issues on The Bottom Line.

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