Heather Hansman: Who will clean up the 'billion-dollar mess' of abandoned US oilwells?
Jill Morrison has seen how the bust of oil and gas production can permanently scar a landscape. Near her land in north-east Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, where drilling started in 1889, more than 2,000 abandoned wells are seeping brine into the groundwater and leaking potent greenhouse gasses.
The problem is getting worse. As the oil and gas industry contracts owing to the pandemic, low prices and the rise of renewables, more than 50 major companies have gone bankrupt in the last year. Joe Biden’s recent order to pause drilling on federal land could drive that number higher. Morrison, a rancher and the head of the Powder River Basin resource council, said the crash was exacerbating the abandonment issue….