We wholeheartedly agree with Gov. Josh Shapiro – Pennsylvania can do a lot to protect Pennsylvania’s clean air and water by covering orphan gas wells.
There are approximately 1,500 abandoned wells in Warren County and about 350,000 across the state. Abandoned gas wells in the state account for about 8% of the state’s methane emissions.
But so far only the federal government has a plan to plug those wells by allocating more than $400 million in the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act in 2024. Pennsylvania received $104 million of that money and is expected to receive more orphan money as well. From any state but Texas.
The only way anyone would know how Shapiro feels is if he posted it on Facebook over the weekend. He totally rules by vulgarity. We can all agree that the country needs to do more on orphan wells. But what is the state’s plan? According to a press release on Shapiro’s website, the plan is to withdraw $104 million from the federal government as quickly as possible.
That’s it? There is no more?
Surely Shapiro and his leadership team could come up with a better plan than spending our federal money ASAP. How about setting a specific target for the number of wells to be covered each year? If methane emissions from orphan gas wells are statistically significant, it would appear that a coordinated government program is needed for how quickly that federal money is spent.
We hope Shapiro reads a recent Center Square report in which Well Done’s Curtis Schock talks about how federal funds are being used badly in an effort to spend money quickly.
“It was such a strict (spending) schedule that it didn’t allow countries to do a good job of quantifying or prioritizing their list (abandoned wells),” Chuck said. “They literally didn’t have a long period of time to get this obligatory money, to get contractors under contract, so they could just put up their hand and click the button to say ‘we did it. Some wells first with federal funding”Maybe some wells are not high priority. Everyone wanted a base hit.”
In our view, Shapiro’s plan should focus on creating a real priority list of wells that need to be counted first, making that list public and keeping the public informed of the country’s progress. It’s a better starting point than just saying our plan is to spend money quickly.