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House Approves Bill to Investigate Impacts of Abandoned Oil Wells in Bipartisan Vote

U.S. House passes Summer Lee bill (Credits: Pennsylvania Capital-Star)

The US House of Representatives has passed a landmark bill addressing the environmental and health hazards of abandoned gas and oil wells. The legislation, sponsored by Representative Summer Lee (D-Pa), passed with a majority of 333-75 votes.

The Abandoned Wells, Remediation, Research, and Development Act seeks to tackle the long-standing issue of orphaned wells, which have been linked to toxic air pollutants, carcinogens, and decreased property values. Pennsylvania, which has the country’s second-largest number of abandoned wells, has been particularly affected, with over 27,000 documented cases.

The bill mandates the Energy Department to develop a comprehensive research and development program to identify and remediate abandoned wells. This move will create jobs, improve public health, and benefit communities disproportionately affected by legacy oil and gas development.

U.S. House passes Summer Lee bill to find and deal with abandoned oil and gas wells (Credits: News From The States)

Environmental groups have hailed the bill as a crucial step towards addressing abandoned wells’ environmental and health impacts. Adam Peltz, Director and Senior Attorney for Energy Transition at the Environmental Defense Fund, praised the bill, stating, “Orphaned oil and gas wells pose a huge threat to public health and safety, our water sources, and the climate.

This essential bipartisan bill will fund research to improve well plugging practices, locate unregistered orphan wells, and develop clean energy uses for end-of-life wells.”

House approves Summer Lee’s initiative to address abandoned oil and gas wells (Credits: EHN)

The bill’s passage in the House marks a huge highlight for Representative Lee, who has prioritized addressing environmental issues. It also comes on the heels of her decisive victory in the Democratic primary for her seat, which she won by 20 points.

The bill now moves to the Senate, where it is hoped to receive similar bipartisan support. Environmental groups and communities affected by abandoned wells are urging swift passage so President Biden can sign it into law and bring much-needed relief to those impacted.

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