End Threat of Poisonous Orphaned Oil Wells

Target: Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas

Goal: Create a comprehensive plan of action to combat widespread pollution caused by abandoned oil wells.

Abandoned, or orphaned, oil wells number in the thousands in one region of Texas alone. These wells do not stop being a toxic threat just because they are no longer operational. Cracks and other breaches in the wells’ structure lead to the seeping of oil residue, poisonous stored water, and methane: all substances that contaminate the air and water supplies. By itself, stored water can produce enough contaminants to cover entire acres of land. And methane can be more detrimental to the climate than carbon dioxide. Scientists have theorized that oil wells are in fact a significant driver of global warming in modern times.

While companies are supposed to plug up wells that are no longer in use, a surplus of these dangerous chambers still mar landscapes across oil-producing regions. Too many of these aging structures are continuing to pose an imminent risk to these environments and all living beings that inhabit them. Despite very present dangers like sinkholes and waste-filled artificial lakes, local leaders are slow to respond to this unfolding crisis.

Sign the petition below to demand action on a critical environmental hazard.


Dear Governor Abbott,

Orphaned, unplugged oil wells in the Permian Basin number in the thousands. The total amount in the U.S. could number over three million. These hazards have, to date, created a sinkhole that could easily engulf a highway, formed a sulfuric lake, alarmed landowners, and produced enough toxic residue like methane to endanger the air and water of entire communities. The abandoned wells will also cost the government an estimated 300-plus million dollars to clean up.

When does the cost outweigh the perceived benefit? Despite entreaties for action from community members and concerned conservationists, organizations like the Railroad Commission still show little initiative to confront this growing mess. And compliance standards—as well as punishments of violations– for companies still remain lax, feeding the growing glut of orphaned wells.

Please take ownership and leadership of a problem perpetuated by one of America’s leading oil-producing states. The Center for American Progress and members of the Senate have introduced a plan that would ramp up cleanup funding and increase minimum bonds that hold companies more accountable. Please commit to such measures at the state level and set a lasting standard that can help prevent a massive environmental and public health catastrophe.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Pixabay

One Comment

  1. We must go CLEAN and GREEN… NOW!!!

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