Texas is set to receive hundreds of millions of dollars to clean up abandoned oil and gas wells.
The state is set to receive $343 million for the operation, which could help create more jobs to an industry badly hit by the pandemic.
The Texas Standard reported why cleaning up the wells is so important and how it will create new jobs.
Speaking to the publication, the Houston Chronicle’s Washington correspondent Ben Wermund explained: “[The abandoned wells are] seen as a major threat to the environment and human health, as they are known to sort of leak toxic chemicals and methane.
“So the Biden administration really wants to get in there and get these cleaned up and sealed and clean up the areas around them.”
“The state of Texas is getting $343 million. That’s just a piece of how much has been authorized through the infrastructure package that Congress passed last year. It’s $4.7 billion in all.
“The state’s been spending tens of millions of dollars on this for decades now.
“They plug about 1,400 wells a year, but there’s still a pretty big backlog – something like 6,000 or more wells that are known that are on the books.
“And there’s an estimated more than 100,000 additional wells in the state that are currently low-production or non-producing and could eventually become orphan wells. So there’s a lot more work to be done.”
He went on to explain how this will benefit the state.
He added: “Environmental activists who have been pushing for this say it’s a pretty good down payment, especially in a state like Texas that is sort of far along, especially compared to other states on tackling this problem. So it should help quite a bit.
“The other end of this is that it’s hopefully going to jump-start the economy, be an economic boost, and get some jobs created to get these wells plugged up.
“You have to pay the people to actually go out there and do it. And there are companies that do this now and definitely could could look to hire more. It sort of depends on the the well and where it is and what’s required.
“There are issues with offshore wells that you have to build entire platforms to go out there and plug, which obviously requires a lot more work than your standard well that might be not a ranch somewhere.
“The Biden administration said that that’s a big reason why Texas is getting more money than any other state, at least at this point in the funding. And that’s because the state lost a lot more jobs in the oil-and-gas industry than others did through the pandemic.”
He said he believed the government was looking to both improve the environment and as a “job creation tool.”