Louisiana enacts orphan oil well law to get $200M in federal money


Legislation that positions Louisiana to receive an estimated $200 million in federal grants to fix orphan oil wells becomes law today as one of the first bills enacted from the 2022 regular session, reports Louisiana Illuminator.

Senate Bill 245, sponsored by Sen. Bret Allain, R-Franklin, was among an initial batch of 17 bills Gov. John Bel Edwards signed. The newly passed law makes changes to certain statutes concerning oil field site restoration, giving the state Department of Natural Resources more flexibility on how much it can spend to plug and restore abandoned wells in a given fiscal year.

There are roughly 4,600 abandoned oil and natural gas wells across Louisiana, many of which are leaking and polluting the environment. The total price tag to fix all of them has been estimated to be around $650 million.

Allain said it would allow the DNR to maximize the amount of money the state can receive from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that President Joe Biden signed into law in November. Louisiana is slated to receive an initial $25 million grant and can compete with 25 other states for a share of $2 billion that will be allocated based on performance. States that are more economically efficient at fixing orphan wells can receive larger shares. Read the entire story.