The federal government has awarded a round of funding to cap orphaned oil and gas wells in West Virginia.
The U.S. Department of the Interior is sending $25 million to West Virginia, which will be used to address 160 sites.
It’s part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which Congress passed and the president signed last year.
Orphaned wells can contaminate groundwater and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere.
West Virginia likely has thousands of them, but the exact number isn’t known.
The federal dollars will help the state identify and clean up additional sites.
Orphaned wells can be costly to fix. On average, it costs $55,000 to cap a well, usually with concrete. Depth is a major factor driving the cost.
Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania also received funding to cap orphaned wells. The states are set to receive even more funding in the coming months.