Press Release

Rep. Cuellar Announces $80 Million in Federal Funding to Plug Orphaned Wells in Texas

The federal funding is expected to create thousands of good-paying jobs in the state

U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar Ph.D. (TX-28) and the Department of Interior today announced nearly $80 million in federal funding for orphan well plugging and site mediation in Texas. This major investment will spur economic revitalization, create good-paying jobs, and help mitigate the environmental and health impacts of methane leaks from toxic abandoned oil and gas wells. The funds are provided by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) and administered by the Texas Railroad Commission.

“Ranchers and farmers in my district know firsthand the effects of abandoned oil and gas wells, which contaminate our air and drinking water,” said Dr. Cuellar. “These federal funds from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will be crucial to Texas’s efforts to plug orphaned wells while creating thousands of good-paying jobs in our state. I helped pass the IIJA in 2021 to revitalize our South Texas communities, and we are seeing that today.”

This award is a part of the more than $320 million Texas is expected to receive to plug and maintain orphaned wells. Under the grant, Texas will monitor methane emissions from plugged orphan wells, screen for effects on ground and surface water, and prioritize plugging wells in low-income areas.

So far, federal funds from the IIJA have plugged 27 abandoned oil and gas wells in Duval, Starr, Webb, and Zapata counties.

The IIJA provided $4.7 billion for orphaned well site plugging on federal, state, private, and Tribal lands. The funds are awarded to the Texas Railroad Commission for its existing state-managed plugging program and are estimated to create thousands of good-paying jobs in Texas.