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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