The issue of cleaning up abandoned wells in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska is coming before a U.S. Senate committee.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has scheduled a hearing on the matter Thursday. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is a member of the panel.
The so-called legacy wells were drilled under the federal government’s direction as part of an exploratory oil and gas program between 1944 and 1981. They are currently managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
BLM-Alaska has been working with the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to prioritize the plugging and reclamation of well sites. A single project can cost millions of dollars in large part due to mobilization costs. BLM-Alaska gets about $1 million a year to manage legacy wells.
- The state is granting nearly $300,000 to improve water quality in some of Alaska's most damaged watersheds, including Juneau's orange-tinted Duck Creek.
- More than a third of all the penalties imposed since 1976 were logged last year.
- "You know, we're not talking about some smoky, old wood stove here. We’re talking about high-tech equipment," said Daniel Parrent, a program manager at the U.S. Forest Service.
- "Did you think that ganging together seven different taxes would make it more likely or less likely that any would pass?” asked Eagle River Republican Rep. Dan Saddler.