Quantcast

Fixing Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells Could Provide Jobs in Central Appalachia, New Report Finds

Business
Fixing Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells Could Provide Jobs in Central Appalachia, New Report Finds
Plugging and capping abandoned and orphaned oil and gas wells in Central Appalachia could generate thousands of jobs. StushD80 / Getty Images

Plugging and capping abandoned and orphaned oil and gas wells in Central Appalachia could generate thousands of jobs for the workers and region who stand to lose the most from the industry's inexorable decline.


According to a new report from the Ohio River Valley Institute, just four states (Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky) account for at least 538,000 unplugged abandoned oil and gas wells, though that number is almost certainly low.

The first oil well in the U.S. was drilled in Pennsylvania before the Civil War and the timeline of the region's oil and gas production contributes to its disproportionate number of orphaned wells.

Among other toxic pollution released from orphaned wells, Central Appalachian wells dumped 71,000 metric tons of methane — an extremely potent heat trapping gas — into the atmosphere every year.

The report comes as the Biden administration works to allay worries in a region still tied to the fossil fuel industry.

President Biden's infrastructure plan includes $16 billion for plugging and remediating orphaned oil and gas wells and abandoned mines.

For a deeper dive:

Orphaned Wells: Earther, Charleston Gazette-Mail, West Virginia Public Broadcasting, Allegheny Front; Transition: Politico

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Related Articles from EcoWatch
Recent Stories from EcoWatch