Rep. Cupp Applauds Passage Of House Bill 225
H.B. 225 aims to tackle abandoned wells
January 26, 2018
 
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COLUMBUS-State Representative Bob Cupp (R-Lima) voted to approve House Bill 225, which provides a more prompt and robust method for identifying, assessing, and prioritizing orphaned wells in Ohio. An orphaned well is an improperly abandoned oil and natural gas well that, if left unattended, can cause environmental issues.


The state has operated a program to plug these wells since 1977, but many Ohioans do not report discovered wells because of the cost associated with plugging them. House Bill 225 would allow landowners to notify The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and receive an inspection of the well. If ODNR determines the well is a high priority, ODNR would be required to plug it within 6 months. The funding for these changes would come from the Oil and Gas Producers Fund. Currently, 14% of this fund is used for orphaned well plugging; the bill would change the percentage to 45 with the goal of plugging these wells more expeditiously.


The need to increase funding for this program is evident in the numbers. Currently there are 700 identified orphan wells in the State of Ohio, and 13 of those wells are located in Allen County. Those numbers account for only the wells ODNR is aware of - it is estimated that approximately 250,000 wells were drilled in Ohio since the 1880’s. Recently a high priority orphan well was plugged in Allen County and it came at a cost of $196,915 to fix. ODNR has spent half of their 6 million dollar budget for the current fiscal year plugging just 40 of the known orphaned wells.


“The bill creates an opportunity for property owners to report orphaned wells – abandoned wells that have the potential to contaminate ground water and create other environmental problems -- without worrying about snagging a financial burden for doing so. The goal is to have more wells reported and then safely plugged.” Cupp said. H.B. 225 will make the already existing program more effective by providing greater incentive to report and the financial means to apply a solution.


House Bill 225 was passed unanimously out of the House and now awaits consideration from the Senate.


 

 
 
 
  
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