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Saturday, June 15, 2024

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The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

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The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

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As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Mississippi receives $6.8 million in federal funds to clean up orphaned wells

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Monday, June 10, 2024   

New federal funding will help bolster Mississippi's efforts to track down, clean up and tackle pollution from orphaned oil and gas wells.

The Department of the Interior recently allocated $37 million in initial formula grants from President Joe Biden's Investing in America agenda to Kentucky, Mississippi and Missouri to address legacy pollution.

Jess New, executive director of the Mississippi Oil and Gas Board, said the state will continue plugging and repairing orphaned well sites with every dollar provided through Phase Two of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

"We were just awarded another $6.8 million through the formula grant phase," New pointed out. "With those funds, we are in the process now of actively locating, identifying and characterizing orphan well sites, orphan well project sites that we will move to plug and remediate and restore."

New noted Mississippi received an initial $5 million grant to plug and remediate wells last year. More than 41 projects, including plugging operations at 15 well sites and surface restoration efforts at 26 others, were completed.

New stressed the funding will also open new employment opportunities for Mississippians.

"What this orphan program also does, it enables us to put contractors to work in the field plugging and remediating these sites," New explained. "As we continue to add project sites to our orphan well list, we will certainly be hiring third-party contractors to plug and remediate those sites."

New emphasized the importance of plugging orphan oil and gas wells as it reduces methane emissions and protects and safeguards groundwater and surface water from potential contamination.

"The abandoned and orphaned infrastructure has been out there for a long period of time," New acknowledged. "It's a safety hazard. And so by us going out there and removing the infrastructure, and just the salvage that might be on site, we are also getting, we're removing a potentially very unsafe hazard on these sites."

New emphasized the board's focus for the next five years will be to identify and address orphan wells as part of its strategic plan. He added they will also continue to regulate the industry and promote exploration and production daily.


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