"The U.S. has more than double the amount of abandoned oil and gas wells than previously thought, according to a preliminary analysis by the Interior Department," Zack Budryk reports for The Hill. "In a memo Wednesday, the department said there are currently more than 130,000 documented abandoned, or orphaned, wells. Comparatively, a 2019 report from the Interior documented a total of 56,600 orphaned wells across 30 states. Across the entire country they found that the number of abandoned wells in that report ranged from zero to 13,226."

Nearly every state has abandoned and orphaned wells, and it's a big health and safety issue in many rural areas. Drillers are supposed to plug their wells but often don't; such abandoned wells often leak hazardous waste and methane, and damage the health of those living nearby. In November, the Environmental Defense Fund published a map of documented abandoned wells.

Read the full article about abandoned oil and gas wells by Heather Chapman at The Rural Blog.