REGROW Act Gains Support From Western Governors Association, IOGCC Member-State Governors

U.S. Senate News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) touted growing support from state governors for their bipartisan REGROW Act to clean up orphaned oil and gas wells.

Recently, the Western Governors Association and members of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) sent letters to the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) urging them to support REGROW Act to ease the burden on states to plug orphaned and abandoned wells.

“Western Governors write to communicate our support for legislation to support states’ cleanup activities on abandoned and orphaned oil and gas wells and associated sites.,” wrote the Western Governors Association. “Many western states are currently engaged in oil and gas well plugging and remediation activities, and this work could be significantly accelerated with federal assistance.”

“A healthy influx of well plugging projects will provide job opportunities for tens of thousands of these workers while fast-tracking environmental restoration across the country,” wrote IOGCC Member-State Governors. “This legislation supports state programs by providing an infusion of funds to plug orphaned wells and accelerate the associated environmental benefits.”

“Communities in New Mexico and all across the country are suffering from harmful methane emissions that are released by thousands of orphaned oil and gas wells,” Luján said. “By passing this bipartisan legislation, Congress can help states create opportunities for oil and gas workers to get back to work while slashing harmful methane emissions. I’m thrilled that governors, including New Mexico’s Michelle Lujan Grisham, are getting behind this legislation. I’m optimistic that Chairman Manchin and Ranking Member Barrasso will work with these governors, advocates, and members of both parties to consider this effort to protect our environment and to provide Americans with good-paying jobs.”

“We are grateful our commonsense proposal is gaining support and hope that momentum continues,” Cramer said. “As thousands of oilfield workers remain unemployed, over 56,000 oil and gas wells have been abandoned and need to be cleaned up so the land can once again be productive and environmental hazards can be avoided. The REGROW Act would address these problems by providing states, tribes, and federal agencies the resources they need to properly plug the orphaned wells. It’s a win for workers, landowners, and the environment.”

Background:

The REGROW Act would help oil and gas workers recover and rebuild from the pandemic, create tens of thousands of jobs, help stimulate oilfield community economies, and cut down on harmful emissions. It’s estimated that 100,000 oil and gas jobs were lost as a result of COVID-19.

Earlier this year, Senators Lujan and Kevin Cramer introduced the Revive Economic Growth and Reclaim Orphaned Wells (REGROW) Act of 2021.

This bill will provide:

  • $4.275 billion for orphaned well cleanup on state and private lands;
  • $400 million for orphaned well cleanup on public and Tribal lands;
  • $32 million for related research, development, and implementation.

Additionally, the bipartisan bill directs $250 million to DOI to clean up orphaned wells on public lands and creates a $150 million grant program within the Bureau of Indian Affairs to help Tribes clean up orphaned wells.

Read the letter of support from the Western Governors Association HERE.

Read the letter of support from the IOGCC HERE.

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