Section 349 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 provides for the establishment of a program to provide technical and financial assistance to oil and gas producing states to facilitate remediation of environmental problems caused by orphaned or abandoned oil and gas exploration or production well sites on State or private land.
The IOGCC Orphan Well Task Force, comprised of IOGCC representatives from member states, was formed in order to address the requirements related to section 349 of the Act. The Act endorses the Secretary of Energy to work with the states, through the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC), for the development of a program that quantifies and mitigates environmental risks associated with onshore that includes mechanism to facilitate:
(a) identification of persons currently providing a bond or other form of financial assurance for an oil or gas well that is orphaned or abandoned;
(b) criteria for ranking orphaned or abandoned well sites;
(c) information and training practices on best practices for remediation of different types of sites; and
(d) funding of state mitigation efforts on a cost-shared basis. $25,000,000 per year for fiscal years 2006 through 2010 is authorized to be appropriated to carry out these activities and the Federal Reimbursement for Orphaned Well Reclamation Pilot Program
In response to the Act, the IOGCC developed the framework for the program as part of a cooperative agreement
with the Department of Energy. The Task Force developed an Appropriated Fund Disbursement Model
and a Model Prioritization Schedule
. Although the funding authorized in the act has yet to be appropriated, the IOGCC and its Orphan Well Task Force continues to urge Congress to provide necessary funds for the reclamation of orphaned well sites.