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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Gov. Whitmer endorses Kamala Harris for president, says she's not leaving Michigan; Grilled by lawmakers on the Trump assassination attempt, Secret Service director says, 'We failed;' Teachers rally at national convention in Houston; Opioid settlement fund fuels anti-addiction battle in Indiana; Nonprofit agency says corporate donations keep programs going.

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Democrats consolidate support behind Vice President Harris, Republicans threaten legal action over changes to the presidential ticket, and a possible bipartisan consensus forms on the failure of the Secret Service to protect former President Trump.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied, and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

Mississippi receives $6.8 million in federal funds to clean up orphaned wells

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Monday, June 10, 2024   

New federal funding will help bolster Mississippi's efforts to track down, clean up and tackle pollution from orphaned oil and gas wells.

The Department of the Interior recently allocated $37 million in initial formula grants from President Joe Biden's Investing in America agenda to Kentucky, Mississippi and Missouri to address legacy pollution.

Jess New, executive director of the Mississippi Oil and Gas Board, said the state will continue plugging and repairing orphaned well sites with every dollar provided through Phase Two of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

"We were just awarded another $6.8 million through the formula grant phase," New pointed out. "With those funds, we are in the process now of actively locating, identifying and characterizing orphan well sites, orphan well project sites that we will move to plug and remediate and restore."

New noted Mississippi received an initial $5 million grant to plug and remediate wells last year. More than 41 projects, including plugging operations at 15 well sites and surface restoration efforts at 26 others, were completed.

New stressed the funding will also open new employment opportunities for Mississippians.

"What this orphan program also does, it enables us to put contractors to work in the field plugging and remediating these sites," New explained. "As we continue to add project sites to our orphan well list, we will certainly be hiring third-party contractors to plug and remediate those sites."

New emphasized the importance of plugging orphan oil and gas wells as it reduces methane emissions and protects and safeguards groundwater and surface water from potential contamination.

"The abandoned and orphaned infrastructure has been out there for a long period of time," New acknowledged. "It's a safety hazard. And so by us going out there and removing the infrastructure, and just the salvage that might be on site, we are also getting, we're removing a potentially very unsafe hazard on these sites."

New emphasized the board's focus for the next five years will be to identify and address orphan wells as part of its strategic plan. He added they will also continue to regulate the industry and promote exploration and production daily.


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