skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

NV conservation group supports FERC's transmission planning rule; Memorial Day weekend includes Tornadoes and record-high temperatures; A focus on the Farm Bill for Latino Advocacy Week in D.C; and Southeast Alaska is heating homes with its rainfall.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

U.S. Supreme Court allows South Carolina gerrymander that dilutes Black voters, Sen. Ted Cruz refuses to say if he'll accept 2024 election results, and Trump calls Mar-a-Lago search an attempt to have him assassinated.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Greater accountability sought for abandoned well cleanup in West

play audio
Play

Wednesday, April 3, 2024   

According to the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, there are at least 49 orphan wells in the state -- wells that are abandoned and not plugged -- on private, state and federal lands.

Congress is once again debating who should clean them up. Last year, the Biden administration proposed increasing the minimum bond amounts on oil and gas leases. But Republicans in the U.S. House have voted to repeal those reforms, saying they would reduce oil production. The bill passed on a party-line vote.

Dave Jenkins, president of the group Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship, contended operators in the West know how to play the system and offload well-site cleanup costs to taxpayers.

"There's an easy fix here, which is to require a bond adequate enough that if they do skip out, we have the money to clean it up and it's not taxpayers holding the bag," Jenkins suggested.

Jenkins argued anyone who is what he called "fiscally conservative and cares about keeping taxes low" should support the Interior Department's proposed reforms. The proposal would increase the minimum lease bond amount to $150,000 and the minimum statewide bond to $500,000.

Jenkins noted his group studied the issue and found taxpayers could be on the hook for as much as $15 billion for future plugging and cleanup costs of orphan wells on federal land if the proposed reform is not enacted. He added estimates of the number of abandoned wells nationwide range from hundreds of thousands to millions, creating a long-term financial burden for taxpayers.

"The cost of plugging a well can range from $100,000 to sometimes upwards of $1 million," Jenkins pointed out. "Specially if you're talking about really deep wells, like we see more and more of today."

Jenkins stressed the Biden administration needs to finalize the proposed rule to help ensure the Bureau of Land Management's multiple-use approach is being prioritized. The bill to squash it is now in the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.


get more stories like this via email

more stories
The latest Living Planet Index report finds freshwater migratory fish saw an average 81% collapse in monitored population sizes between 1970 and 2020. This includes massive declines in Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

Groups in Connecticut are preparing to celebrate World Fish Migration Day on Friday. The biennial event celebrates migratory fish species and their …


Social Issues

play sound

Fewer than 8% of people in Alabama prisons are granted parole when they apply for it. Criminal justice experts got together for a discussion of how …

Social Issues

play sound

A new report is sounding the alarm on Pennsylvania's juvenile-detention capacity challenges, citing understaffing and long wait times for the young …


During Latino Advocacy Week, Hispanic Access Foundation members met with lawmakers to promote equity in the upcoming Farm Bill. (Evelyn Ramirez/Hispanic Access Foundation)

Environment

play sound

It's Latino Advocacy Week in Washington, D.C., and leaders in the Hispanic community are pushing for improvements in the upcoming Farm Bill. The …

Environment

play sound

As Michiganders hit the road this holiday weekend, state lawmakers are brainstorming ways to help close the state's $3.9 billion road funding gap…

The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy says a law change, which includes updating the state's public waters list, could provide protections for at least 640 miles of additional waterways across the state. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

What might seem like an under-the-radar administrative task could end up being a lifesaver for Minnesota waterways in need of safeguards against agric…

Social Issues

play sound

Two years ago today, a teenager killed 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. The families of those shot and killed have …

Social Issues

play sound

Amid nationwide labor shortages and high turnover, employment experts say fostering an equitable workplace is key to finding and retaining workers…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021