Legislature Tells BLM to Clean Up Travesty Well Sites
Millett resolution reminds BLM to clean up North Slope environmental disaster
Wednesday, April 3, 2013, Juneau, Alaska – With today’s unanimous concurrence vote in the House, the Legislature passed House Joint Resolution 6 calling on the federal Bureau of Land Management to plug and remediate dozens of “travesty well” sites in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska to protect the land, sea and wildlife.
The resolution was changed in the Senate calling the abandoned well sites “travesty wells” to better describe disastrous negligence and the environmental damage inflicted by the wells on the Arctic landscape.
“I said it last time and I’ll say it again; if a private company or the State were the ones accountable for these travesty wells, you can bet the federal government would be here tomorrow and it would be front page news,” Millett, R-Anchorage, said. “The feds have made billions in leases sales in the NPR-A and the outer continental shelf; they need to use a portion of that to do what’s right and clean up their mess.”
Legacy wells were drilled by the federal government from 1944 to 1981. Since drilling ceased only a handful have been correctly plugged and remediated.
The new resolution includes the following changes and updates:
- Only 17 of the 137 wells have been correctly plugged and cleaned up
- Urges BLM to work in a cooperative manner with the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and use the best practices when work is performed on well sites
- Consider handing over responsibility for travesty wells to an entity capable of cleaning up the sites more cost effectively within state and federal regulations
- Urges BLM to open new areas of NPR-A to responsible oil and gas leasing
HJR 6 passed the House and Senate unanimously and now goes to the Governor for his signature.