On Monday, November 15, 2021, President Biden signed the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) into law. The IIJA allocated more than $1 trillion to advance various infrastructure projects across the nation.
The State programs are divided into three types of grants:
1) Initial Grants - States may be eligible for either a $5,000,000 or a $25,000,000 grant;
2) Formula Grants - required a State Notice of Intent by December 30, 2021; and
3) Performance Grants - Performance Grants include two types of grants available: Regulatory Improvement and Matching Grants.
This legislation provided $25,000,000 of funding to the North Dakota Industrial Commission for the plugging, remediation, and restoration of orphaned well sites located on state-owned or privately owned land to prevent methane and other harmful air pollutants from entering the atmosphere.
This is a one-time grant issued in year one of the IIJA. 90% of this Grant must be in contracts or grants within 90 days of receipt and obligated within one year.
While the exact number of abandoned wells remains unknown due to the long history of oil and gas exploration in North Dakota, the initial grant funds will be used as follows:
- Plug, remediate, and reclaim orphaned wells located on State-owned or privately-owned land; identify and characterize undocumented orphaned wells on State and private land;
- Measure and track - I. emissions of methane and other gases associated with orphaned wells; and II. contamination of groundwater or surface water associated with orphaned wells;
- Remediate soil and restore native species' habitat that has been degraded due to the presence of orphaned wells and associated pipelines, facilities, and infrastructure;
- Remediate land adjacent to orphaned wells and decommission or remove associated pipelines, facilities, and infrastructure.
Section 40601: Orphaned Well Site Plugging, Remediation, and Restoration, Title VI: Methane Reduction Infrastructure, Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, H.R. 3684, 117th Congress (2021) (https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3684/text)
The below letter was sent to landowners regarding confiscated wells located on their property. This inial letter was sent to inform landowners of well plugging and site reclamation.
Following this letter, you will be provided the proposed reclamation plans at least ten days prior to the commencement of work as required pursuant to North Dakota Century Code Section 43-02-03-34.1. Reclamation of surface.
If the DOI requests to do a site visit and review work done from the project, we ask that you provide your name and best contact method. This will facilitate state or DOI personnel the ability to contact you and arrange an onsite visit.
Please submit all written questions and requests to:
DMR Oil and Gas Division
ATTN: Cody VanderBusch
600 E Blvd Ave-Dept 474
Bismarck, ND 58505-0614