In Texas and New Mexico, state regulators are already on the hook for cleaning up more than 7,000 orphaned oil and gas wells, which can leak contaminants into nearby air and water and even become significant sources of methane emissions — contributing to climate change even though they’re no longer producing fuel. Our reporting shows that, in these two major oil-producing states, the true scale of oil well abandonment is likely far greater than the official numbers: Approximately 12,000 Texas wells are nearly statistically indistinguishable from the more than 6,000 already on the state’s rolls. Those additional wells are likely to become officially abandoned within the next four years, tripling the state’s current cleanup cost estimate. All in all, the Lone Star State could be looking at a […]