Millions of Americans across the country live within just one mile from an abandoned coal mine or an orphaned oil and gas well. These legacy pollution sites are environmental hazards and jeopardize public health and safety by contaminating groundwater, emitting noxious gases like methane, littering the landscape with rusted and dangerous equipment, creating flooding and sinkhole risks, and harming wildlife. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law delivers the largest investment in tackling legacy pollution in American history. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s $16 billion historic investment will go directly to plugging orphaned wells and reclaiming abandoned mine lands. These resources will help communities eliminate dangerous conditions and pollution caused by past extraction activities. Projects to cap orphaned oil and gas wells, close dangerous mine shafts, improve water drainage, and restore water supplies damaged by mining will create good-paying jobs to strengthen local economies. The Law invests in supporting and protecting communities by funding: $11.3 billion to provide grants to states and Tribes for abandoned coal mine land reclamation. $25 million will be used to help states update their abandoned mine land inventories. $4.7 billion for orphaned well site plugging, remediation and restoration activities. In addition to addressing legacy pollution, resources are available to states to create immediate jobs and build the foundation for a clean energy economy: $4.3 billion to be used to plug orphan wells on state and private lands. $250 million to cap orphan wells on public lands, including in national parks, national forests, and wildlife refuges. $150 million to cap orphan wells on Tribal lands. The Department of the Interior is committed to helping working families, often in rural and Tribal communities, address the environmental impacts from these legacy developments. The resources made available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will finally help communities reclaim abandoned mine land, plug orphaned oil and gas wells, and revitalize their economies after years of struggling with hazardous pollution, toxic water levels and land subsidence both during and long after energy companies have moved on. Resources: Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding Bureau of Land Management Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Investments Orphaned Wells Program Office FY 2022 Abandoned Mine Land Release FY 2022 Orphaned Oil and Gas Wells Release Investing in Legacy Pollution Clean Up Orphaned Wells Pump jack in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas. Photo by National Park Service. Caption Orphaned Wells Orphan wells are what is left behind after extractive companies are no longer operating in an area. An orphaned well is one that is no longer being used for production or injection, is not being monitored by a company or the operator is unable to plug the well and to remediate and reclaim the well site. Orphaned and Idle Wells Photo by DOI. Caption Orphaned and Idle Wells California’s Los Angeles area has one of the highest concentrations of orphaned and idle wells in the country. These sites are hazardous to communities throughout the region. Abandoned Mine Lands This field before reclamation was used for hunting and pastureland. Photo by DOI. Caption Abandoned Mine Lands Abandoned mine lands are left behind after a coal operator has moved on. These sites create dangerous environmental conditions and pollution that impacts communities and wildlife. This 20-acre abandoned mine site in North Dakota was located near two popular recreation areas contained dangerous highwalls and a large, water-filled pit. The site not only posed a hazard to the public, but also raised liability concerns for private landowners who used the property as horse pasture and a hunting area. North Dakota's Abandoned Mine Land program addressed these issues by eliminating approximately 1,300 feet of dangerous highwalls, creating a pond that recharges fresh water, and preserving a prehistoric, petrified tree stump, estimated to be between 55 and 60 million years old. (This field before reclamation was used for hunting and pastureland). Abandoned mine lands site: Before Reclamation Photo by DOI. Caption Abandoned mine lands site: Before Reclamation The Stineman Refuse Pile in Pennsylvania was hazardous to surrounding areas due to acid mine drainage that polluted groundwater and the Conemaugh River. Abandoned mine land site: After Reclamation Photo by DOI. Caption Abandoned mine land site: After Reclamation This project reclaimed over 600,000 cubic yards of refuse and installed vegetation to buffer nearby waterways. A safer walking trail was created and expanded recreation opportunities along the river.