Jack Walker Published

W.Va. Receives Nearly $30 Million To Plug Abandoned Oil, Gas Wells

More than 200 orphaned oil and gas wells across West Virginia will be plugged through funding from the United States Department of the Interior.
Reid Frazier/Allegheny Front

Abandoned oil and gas wells can leak pollutants into groundwater, surface water and the air. But a new federal investment aims to clean up these hazards across West Virginia.

The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) awarded West Virginia nearly $29.2 million Monday. The funds are part of a national effort to clean up legacy pollutants, which are environmental hazards left behind by industrial activity.

West Virginia’s funds will plug roughly 200 orphaned oil and gas wells, while also bringing new employment opportunities to the state.

“I’ve seen firsthand the urgent need to address these hazardous sites, many of which are actively leaking oil and releasing methane gas,” said Deb Haaland, United States secretary of the Interior, in a Monday press release.

In 2022, the DOI granted the state an initial $25 million to get the plugging process started. DOI officials hope the new funds will advance that effort and reduce the state’s overall leakage of greenhouse gasses.

“These investments are good for our climate, for the health of our communities, and for American workers,” Haaland said.