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Senate passes bill to position Louisiana for $200 million in orphaned oil well grants

By: - April 4, 2022 4:44 pm
Louisiana enacts new orphan oil well law to fetch $200 million in federal money

A photo of an orphaned oil well in St. Martin Parish taken in 2010. (Louisiana Department of Natural Resources)

The Louisiana Senate approved a bill Monday that would position Louisiana to receive nearly $200 million in federal grants to fix orphaned oil and gas wells.

Senate Bill 245, sponsored by Sen. Bret Allain, R-Franklin, passed unanimously in a 38-0 vote without any debate on the floor. It will head to the House for consideration.

The legislation would give the state Department of Natural Resources more flexibility in how much it can spend to plug and restore abandoned or “orphaned” oil and gas wells in a given fiscal year. 

There are roughly 4,600 orphaned oil and 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

In his March 16 testimony to the Senate Natural Resources Committee, Allain said enacting the legislation will allow the state to maximize the amount of money it can receive from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that President Joe Biden signed into law in November.

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Wesley Muller
Wesley Muller

Wes Muller traces his journalism roots back to 1997 when, at age 13, he built and launched a hyper-local news website for his New Orleans neighborhood. In the years since then, he has freelanced for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and worked on staff at the Sun Herald in Biloxi, WAFB-9News CBS in Baton Rouge, and the Enterprise-Journal in McComb, Mississippi. He also taught English as an adjunct instructor at Baton Rouge Community College. Much of his journalism has involved reporting on First Amendment issues and coverage of municipal and state government. He has received recognitions including McClatchy's National President's Award, the Associated Press Freedom of Information Award, and the Daniel M. Phillips Freedom of Information Award from the Mississippi Press Association, among others. Muller is a New Orleans native, a Jesuit High School alumnus, a University of New Orleans alumnus and a veteran U.S. Army paratrooper. He lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana, with his two sons and his wife, who is also a journalist.

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