The companies that once operated the wells have all but vanished into the prairie, many seeking bankruptcy protection and unable to pay the cost of reclaiming the land they leased. Recent estimates have put the number of abandoned drilling operations in Wyoming at more than 1,200, and state officials said several thousand more might soon be orphaned by their operators.
Wyoming officials are now trying to address the problem amid concerns from landowners that the wells could contaminate groundwater and are a blight on the land.
This month, Gov. Matt Mead proposed allocating $3 million to pay for plugging the wells and reclaiming the land around them. And the issue is expected to be debated during next year’s legislative session as lawmakers seek to hold drilling companies more accountable.
So let me get this straight. The private sector comes in and does whatever it wants/needs to do to get at the natural resources of an area, takes those resources and sells them, making a lot of money for their investors, and then the private sector simply vanishes leaving the taxpayer to foot the bill of cleaning the mess up? Kind of like what Chevron (aka Texaco) did in Ecuador.
The taxpayers will have to hire more private sector companies to clean the mess up. Happens in Thunder Bay all the time. Companies that may very well be owned by the same people that own the companies that are claiming bankruptcy protection.
Frack you. Frack you very much private sector…