In Slumping Energy States, Plugging Abandoned Wells Could Provide an Economic Boost

North Dakota is using some of its COVID-19 pandemic relief funds to plug 239 abandoned oil wells and reclaim 2,000 acres of lands. Abandoned wells can contaminate groundwater and leak methane that is hazardous to human health and contributes to climate change. While not everyone agrees that the funds should be used to plug wells, state officials say the economic relief program is keeping about 600 oilfield workers employed.

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