We aren’t sure exactly how many abandoned wells there are in Texas but it’s “thousands.” From the TRC site:
The Texas Land & Mineral Owners Association explains how abandoned wells contaminate our drinking water. Their information on the number of abandoned wells in Texas is from 2003.
As of 2004, the estimated cost for plugging the abandoned wells was $2.5 billion to the Texas taxpayer. We give industry $4 billion in corporate welfare every year then we are left to clean up their messes. Is there a more irresponsible industry on this planet?
UPDATE: Please see discussion in comments. I could be partially wrong about taxpayers footing the bill because there is a cleanup fund. Now, I’m not known for my math skills, but I don’t see how paying $300, or $650 in expedited cases, is going to fund the plugging of all these wells and cleanup of “other environmental problems” without taxpayers kicking in.
The maximum fee, set by the Legislature in 2001, is $300, and the total can rise to $650 if a drilling company asks for an expedited permit and exceptions to density rules. By law, that money goes to a state fund to clean up plugged wells and other environmental problems.