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U.S. money taps are pouring out over $1 billion to plug abandoned oil and gas wells

The White House is following up on the pledges it made during the global negotiations to mitigate climate change by making a big push to reduce methane emissions.

Yesterday, President Joe Biden unveiled a multi-pronged initiative from the Department of the Interior, the Department of Energy, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Agriculture that includes $1.15 billion in funding to clean up and plug abandoned oil and gas wells.

States now have access to that $1 billion pot of cash to clean up oil and gas wells, while the Department of Transportation will be tightening up its enforcement and oversight of pipeline operators to reduce leaks. Over at the Department of Energy, folks will be working to provide technical assistance to the Federal agencies, states, and tribes working on cleaning up the sites.

The Biden Administration said that the effort would build on the commitments it made as part of the Global Methane Pledge -- a global partnership to collectively cut emissions of methane by 30% compared with 2020 levels by 2030.

All of the money that's coming from the Department of the Interior is just a taste of the billions that are going to be spent on mine land reclamation and pipeline modernization. An additional $11.4 billion is waiting in the wings to be tapped for mine and oilfield remediation and rehabilitation. “President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is enabling us to confront the legacy pollution and long-standing environmental injustices that for too long have plagued underrepresented communities,” said Secretary Deb Haaland, in a statement. “We must act with urgency to address the more than one hundred thousand documented orphaned wells across the country and leave no community behind. This is good for our climate, for the health of our communities, and for American workers.”

These funds could be a big boost to startup technology companies that monitor oil and gas pipelines, monitor greenhouse gas emissions, and work on well rehabilitation. Companies like Bluefield, Arolytics, Aclima, and others are pushing emissions monitoring and leak detection technologies, while Crusoe Energy reduces natural gas flaring and uses gas to power data centers and crypto mining operations.

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