42 U.S. Code § 15907 - Orphaned, abandoned, or idled wells on Federal land

(a) In general
The Secretary, in cooperation with the Secretary of Agriculture, shall establish a program not later than 1 year after August 8, 2005, to remediate, reclaim, and close orphaned, abandoned, or idled oil and gas wells located on land administered by the land management agencies within the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture.
(b) Activities
The program under subsection (a) shall—
(1) include a means of ranking orphaned, abandoned, or idled wells sites for priority in remediation, reclamation, and closure, based on public health and safety, potential environmental harm, and other land use priorities;
(2) provide for identification and recovery of the costs of remediation, reclamation, and closure from persons or other entities currently providing a bond or other financial assurance required under State or Federal law for an oil or gas well that is orphaned, abandoned, or idled; and
(3) provide for recovery from the persons or entities identified under paragraph (2), or their sureties or guarantors, of the costs of remediation, reclamation, and closure of such wells.
(c) Cooperation and consultations
In carrying out the program under subsection (a), the Secretary shall—
(1) work cooperatively with the Secretary of Agriculture and the States within which Federal land is located; and
(2) consult with the Secretary of Energy and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission.
(d) Plan
Not later than 1 year after August 8, 2005, the Secretary, in cooperation with the Secretary of Agriculture, shall submit to Congress a plan for carrying out the program under subsection (a).
(e) Idled well
For the purposes of this section, a well is idled if—
(1) the well has been nonoperational for at least 7 years; and
(2) there is no anticipated beneficial use for the well.
(f) Federal reimbursement for orphaned well reclamation pilot program
(1) Reimbursement for remediating, reclaiming, and closing wells on land subject to a new lease
The Secretary shall carry out a pilot program under which, in issuing a new oil and gas lease on federally owned land on which 1 or more orphaned wells are located, the Secretary—
(A) may require, other than as a condition of the lease, that the lessee remediate, reclaim, and close in accordance with standards established by the Secretary, all orphaned wells on the land leased; and
(B) shall develop a program to reimburse a lessee, through a royalty credit against the Federal share of royalties owed or other means, for the reasonable actual costs of remediating, reclaiming, and closing the orphaned wells pursuant to that requirement.
(2) Reimbursement for reclaiming orphaned wells on other land
In carrying out this subsection, the Secretary—
(A) may authorize any lessee under an oil and gas lease on federally owned land to reclaim in accordance with the Secretary’s standards—
(i) an orphaned well on unleased federally owned land; or
(ii) an orphaned well located on an existing lease on federally owned land for the reclamation of which the lessee is not legally responsible; and
(B) shall develop a program to provide reimbursement of 100 percent of the reasonable actual costs of remediating, reclaiming, and closing the orphaned well, through credits against the Federal share of royalties or other means.
(3) Regulations
The Secretary may issue such regulations as are appropriate to carry out this subsection.
(g) Technical assistance program for non-Federal land
(1) In general
The Secretary of Energy shall establish a program to provide technical and financial assistance to oil and gas producing States to facilitate State efforts over a 10-year period to ensure a practical and economical remedy for environmental problems caused by orphaned or abandoned oil and gas exploration or production well sites on State or private land.
(2) Assistance
The Secretary of Energy shall work with the States, through the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, to assist the States in quantifying and mitigating environmental risks of onshore orphaned or abandoned oil or gas wells on State and private land.
(3) Activities
The program under paragraph (1) shall include—
(A) mechanisms to facilitate identification, if feasible, of the persons currently providing a bond or other form of financial assurance required under State or Federal law for an oil or gas well that is orphaned or abandoned;
(B) criteria for ranking orphaned or abandoned well sites based on factors such as public health and safety, potential environmental harm, and other land use priorities;
(C) information and training programs on best practices for remediation of different types of sites; and
(D) funding of State mitigation efforts on a cost-shared basis.
(h) Authorization of appropriations
(1) In general
There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $25,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2006 through 2010.
(2) Use
Of the amounts authorized under paragraph (1), $5,000,000 are authorized for each fiscal year for activities under subsection (f).
(i) Federally drilled wells
Out of any amounts in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, $10,000,000 for fiscal year 2014, $36,000,000 for fiscal year 2015, and $4,000,000 for fiscal year 2019 shall be made available to the Secretary, without further appropriation and to remain available until expended, to remediate, reclaim, and close abandoned oil and gas wells on current or former National Petroleum Reserve land.

Source

(Pub. L. 109–58, title III, § 349,Aug. 8, 2005, 119 Stat. 709; Pub. L. 113–40, § 10(b),Oct. 2, 2013, 127 Stat. 545.)
Amendments

2013—Subsec. (i). Pub. L. 113–40added subsec. (i).

 

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