Target: Steven Wells, Chief of BLM’s Fluid Minerals Division
Goal: Inspect all high-risk oil and gas wells
The government has fallen behind in completing inspections of high-risk oil and gas wells for safety and environmental standards. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is supposed to inspect these wells during the drilling stage, which is the best opportunity to judge a well’s infrastructure. However the BLM has fallen tragically behind due to shortages of available staff.
Certain oil and gas wells have been labeled as ‘high-risk’ due to their proximity to ecologically sensitive areas such as water sheds or because they are located on fault lines where geologic activity might trigger an explosion. According to Mother Jones, 40 percent of the 3,486 oil and gas wells drilled on federal and Native American land between 2009 and 2012 that were identified as high-risk for pollution were not inspected, and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimated that new wells are 57 percent not inspected. The BLM must inspect all wells and reform its policy appropriately to ensure that high-risk wells are inspected in a timely manner.
Steve Wells, the CEO of BLM’s Fluid Minerals Division is quoted saying that he ‘hopes at some point we’ll be able to catch up.’ These inspections are essential to maintaining human and environmental health and safety, which the BLM is mandated to uphold. As it is, the BLM is not doing its job and is putting communities and ecosystems at risk. The BLM needs to reform its management of oil and gas wells and ensure that they get inspected.
Dear Steve Wells,
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is obligated to inspect high-risk oil and gas wells during the drilling stage. However, according to information from Mother Jones and the Government Accountability office, 40% of the high-risk wells drilled between 2009 and 2012 were not inspected, and 57 percent of new wells are not inspected. These numbers are unacceptable.
By allowing high-risk wells to go un-inspected, the BLM is not doing its job and is putting communities and ecosystems at risk. It is understandable that the BLM is short on staff but the organization can reform its management and use of human resources to ensure that high-risk wells are made a priority and get inspected. The BLM needs to inspect all high risk oil and gas wells immediately.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Paulscrawl via Wikipedia