Statement from the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund on the Passage of Orphan Well Bill in the Ohio Senate

Columbus, Ohio -- Today, the Ohio Senate unanimously passed HB 225, which includes a number of improvements to Ohio law to expedite the plugging of abandoned oil and gas wells by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). In January, the bill unanimously passed in the Ohio House. The following statement in regards to HB 225 can be attributed in part, or in full to Melanie Houston, Director of Climate Programs:

“We commend members of the Ohio Senate for advancing a bill that is certainly in the interest of the public and Ohio’s natural environment. 

“Orphan wells pose a hazard to the environment and to human health and safety. Until they are located and properly plugged, they provide unnecessary health, safety and groundwater contamination risks. Orphan wells have been found under school buildings, houses and streets, and even in lawns and recreation areas in both rural and urban areas.

“This bill improves the Orphan Well Program and gives ODNR Division of Oil and Gas clear guidance and the ability to expedite the plugging of hazardous abandoned and orphaned wells throughout Ohio.”