President Biden’s administration announced earlier this week that it will be sending $1.15 billion to 26 states to plug thousands of unattended wells that emit methane.
Methane is believed to be 84 times stronger than carbondioxide when it comes to trapping heat but at the same time it dissolves for approximately nine years.
This makes pluggin methane-emitting wells a potential quick win when it comes to reducing global warming and could buy time for developing and deploying other technologies.
Funding will be provided by President Biden’s infrastructure bill which earmarked $4.7 billion for limiting the effects of flaring, leakages and uncapped wells across the US.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland issues a statement that the funds will provide ammunition for government to “confront the legacy pollution and long-standing environmental injustices. We must act with urgency to address the more than one hundred thousand documented orphaned wells across the country and leave no community behind.”
Funds will be provided to the 26 states that previously submitted notices of intent to the DoI in 2021 with amounts over $100 headed to Texas and Pennsylvania.
Mahar Sorour, deputy legislative director at the Sierra Club, an environmental organization with chapters in all 50 states, welcomed the White House initiative as an important first step, but warned that oil and gas companies needed to foot the bill in the long term.
These latest efforts from the White House are also seen as part of the Global Methane Pledge with which 100 countries agreed to reduce their methane emissions with 30% by 2030.
The White House has also been active in issuing new requirements for pipeline operators that need to monitor and reduce methane leaks.