Home New mexico economy New Mexico will receive $25 million to plug 200 orphan wells

New Mexico will receive $25 million to plug 200 orphan wells

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KIRTLAND, NM — Biden-Harris administration officials were in Kirtland on Thursday for a big announcement. Hundreds of millions of dollars from President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act will be used to deal with orphan oil and gas wells.

Millions of Americans are affected by legacy pollution, including in New Mexico.

“I come from a community, Laguna Pueblo, that is suffering the impacts of environmental injustice, our health, our water, our elders continue to feel these devastating consequences from the nation’s largest open-pit uranium mine,” said US Interior Secretary Deb Haaland. .

It’s not just surface mining that creates environmental hazards, but also an all-too-familiar sight in San Juan County: orphan oil and gas wells.

“Millions of Americans live within a mile of an orphan oil or gas well nationwide, these are environmental risks, Haaland said.

Although these wells are long forgotten, their environmental impact is permanent.

“It contaminates groundwater, litters the landscape with rusty and dangerous equipment, harms wildlife and releases methane gas, a serious safety hazard and a major cause of climate change, and dangerous to people and children. “, Haaland added.

Under President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act, $560 million will go toward cleaning up 10,000 orphan wells in 24 states. New Mexico will receive $25 million to plug 200 high-priority wells across the state.

“That’s 400% more than what we normally do in a year, we normally plug 50 wells a year maybe.” Sarah Cottrell Propst, REMND Cabinet Secretary, said.

The administration said these environmental efforts have the ability to unearth a new economy.

“Today’s announcement is just part of the $16 billion allocated through the Infrastructure Act to address legacy pollution, create well-paying union jobs and create economic revitalization” , Haaland said.