AAAS Hosts Congressional Briefing on Benefits of Plugging Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells

On April 7, 2021, PSE Executive Director Dr. Seth Shonkoff participated in a Congressional briefing on the benefits of remediating the nation’s estimated 2.1 million unplugged and 194,400 idle oil and gas wells. 

At the virtual event, hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Center for Scientific Evidence in Public Issues (AAAS EPI), Dr. Shonkoff joined a panel of scientific experts and industry representatives. Dr. Shonkoff’s remarks focused on the climate and public health dimensions of the orphaned oil and gas well problem.

Recent industry bankruptcies have created uncertainty around the scale of this legacy infrastructure problem in the United States, however estimates of the number of undocumented orphaned wells range in the hundreds of thousands. Dr. Shonkoff briefed members and staffers of the U.S. House and Senate on the science of the climate, environmental and public health risks of orphaned oil and gas wells as well as data driven strategies to address the issue. 

Dr. Shonkoff’s presentation is available below.

Panel participants from left to right: Sarah Solomon, AAAS EPI; Dr. Seth Shonkoff, PSE Healthy Energy; Seth Pelepko, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; Lori Wrotenbery, Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission; Daniel Raimi, Resources for the Future.