Orphan Wells Bill Advances One Step Closer to Governor's Desk

Bill ensures taxpayers & communities aren’t stuck paying the costs for clean-up of worn-out oil and gas operations

SACRAMENTO – California’s senate has approved AB 1167, a bill a by Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo called the Orphan Well Prevention Act, which NRDC and Environment California are sponsoring. The act is designed to intervene before oil wells become “orphaned” without a financially solvent operator, by prohibiting the sale of an idle or marginally-producing well unless the oil industry puts up financial security to pay for the full cost of cleaning it up, a process called plug and abandonment. The bill has to clear a procedural vote in the Assembly before the legislature adjourns on September 14.  

Following is a statement from Ann Alexander, a senior attorney at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council): 

“The California legislature has been courageous and decisive today in the face of fierce opposition by Big Oil. We are finally on the brink of taking an important step to halt the slow-moving catastrophe of orphan wells in our state.  We need the governor to show the same courage as this bill heads for his desk." 

NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Established in 1970, NRDC uses science, policy, law, and people power to confront the climate crisis, protect public health, and safeguard nature. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, Beijing and Delhi (an office of NRDC India Pvt. Ltd). Visit us at http://www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC. 

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