Businesses fined for leaving abandoned wells, potentially causing groundwater damage

New Mexico News

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The state is going after companies who leave abandoned wells behind. The Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources Department’s Oil Conservation Division has filed 23 complaints against more than a dozen well operators since February of 2020.

Nine of those complaints are resolved, resulting in $263,000 in penalties. The division also plugged 49 “orphaned wells” after they were no longer useful. Orphaned wells could leak methane and damage the groundwater.

It costs $35,000 to plug one. The department is asking the public to notify them about any other potential compliance issues by emailing OCD.ENVIRO@state.nm.us.

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