May 21, 2020

The head of the group Consumer Watchdog has written a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom, calling on him to issue an order that no new oil wells be approved without full bonding for their clean-up and a requirement to plug a certain number of idle wells in exchange for a new permit.

“This is particularly true now that oil companies are on the verge of bankruptcy and collapse. We cannot afford to have them leave any more costs with taxpayers,” the letter from Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court and Energy Project Director Liza Tucker reads in part.

According to the letter, out of a total of 107,000 oil wells in California, around 35,000 are idle and another 35,000 are barely producing. 

“Many companies don’t want to spend the money to plug either idle or marginally productive wells. The state abets them by allowing idle wells to stay that way for decades,” the letter reads.

It costs approximately $86,000 to plug a well, according to the letter. 

You can read the full letter here.

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