States eligible for $30 million each to clean up orphaned wells

February 27, 2024

The Department of the Interior (DOI) has released draft guidance for states to access up to $30 million in performance grants to clean up orphaned wells. This is the third round of grants from the DOI’s Orphaned Wells Program Office (OWPO), established by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).

“These investments are good for our climate, for the health of our communities, and for American workers,” DOI Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement. “Addressing orphaned wells cuts methane emissions, advances environmental justice and creates jobs. This effort reflects the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to a healthier planet and equitable growth.” 

The grants follow the formula grants allocated to combat legacy pollution released last month. The OWPO matching grants guidance lays out the application process to receive a performance grant, eligibility criteria and activity requirements if awarded.  

States may receive a matching grant if their FY 24 budget for orphan well pollution cleanup is larger than the average state commitment between 2010 and 2019. Regulatory improvement grants will also be available through the $1.5 billion allocated for performance grants soon, the DOI said.   

Orphaned oil and gas wells are wells abandoned by their operator without proper closure or maintenance. They pose environmental and safety hazards, such as methane leaks, groundwater contamination and potential explosions, as they can release harmful gases and liquids into the surrounding areas.

The grants are a part of the federal Justice40 initiative to aid disadvantaged and marginalized communities and further the U.S. Methane Emissions Reduction Action Plan, passed in 2021.

Through the DOI, $645 million in grants have helped combat the hazardous sites, and states have plugged about 7,000 wells as of the end of 2023.  

Strategic Partnerships, Inc. can provide information on contract opportunities, plus existing and future government funding. For more information, contact

Photo by USDA NRCS Texas

Gracie Warhurst

Gracie Warhurst has joined Strategic Partnerships, Inc. as a writer and digital content creator for the new Government Market News portal. With a rich background in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, Warhurst has experience as editor-in-chief of a literary magazine, assistant web editor, and project manager for an AI journalism project. She also contributed as a reporter during the development of SPI's news portal. Warhurst graduated summa cum laude in December 2023 with a Bachelor's in Journalism and a certificate in creative writing, making her a valuable asset to the SPI team.

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