WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) announced today the Senate passed the Revive Economic Growth and Reclaim Orphaned Wells (REGROW) Act, his bipartisan bill with Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) to plug and remediate the nation’s orphaned wells.

“The REGROW Act is a pro-jobs and pro-natural resources piece of legislation that would put unemployed oilfield workers back on the job where they can use their skillsets to prevent environmental hazards and make the land in their communities productive again,” said Senator Cramer. “North Dakota showed the nation how to create an orphaned wells remediation program, and now the federal legislation built on our state’s innovative thinking is one step closer to becoming law. I urge the House of Representatives to move on this legislation without delay.”

The REGROW Act, which became part of the Senate’s bipartisan infrastructure package, now goes to the House of Representatives. If it were to become law, this bill would provide: 
  • $4.275 billion for orphaned well cleanup on state and private lands.
  • $400 million for orphaned well cleanup on public and tribal lands.
  • $32 million for related research, development, and implementation.

Senators Cramer and Luján introduced the REGROW Act in April. Through hearings and media opportunities, the senators worked to advance their bill by gaining support from their colleagues in the Senate and House of Representatives and from governors across the country. They secured the bill’s inclusion in the Energy Infrastructure Act, which the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee advanced with bipartisan support. The REGROW Act then became part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which the Senate passed yesterday thanks to the help of Senator Cramer. 

REGROW Act supporters including the North Dakota Director of Mineral Resources, Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA), Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC), and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) issued statements applauding the bill’s passage and thanking Senator Cramer for his efforts.

“I applaud Senator Cramer’s work to include the REGROW Act in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that passed the US Senate,” North Dakota Director of Mineral Resources Lynn Helms. “This investment in the environment and in skilled oil and gas workers will provide a resource for states with idle and orphaned wells to address a growing concern while at the same time encouraging those states to review their existing regulatory framework and find solutions to prevent the concern from growing.”

“IPAA congratulates Senators Cramer and Lujan on the passage of the REGROW Act as part of the bipartisan infrastructure package,” said IPAA President and CEO Barry Russell. “We appreciate their leadership on this important legislation to address orphan wells. The REGROW Act will provide funds for state orphan well programs and aid their initiatives and the workers who undertake these efforts during the difficult fiscal times caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic."

“IOGCC and our member states are excited the Senate has passed the REGROW Act of 2021 as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” ,” said IOGCC Executive Director Lori Wrotenbery. “This legislation will have a swift and lasting effect by creating jobs and expediting orphan well plugging.  We appreciate the steadfast efforts of Senators Luján and Cramer to advance this legislation and encourage the House to act quickly so it becomes law and this important work can begin.” 

“As the Senate concludes consideration and passes the bipartisan infrastructure package, EDF is glad to see the REGROW Act by Senators Luján and Cramer included in the final package,” said Adam Peltz, EDF Senior Energy Attorney. “This important bill provides funding to plug orphan oil and gas wells, which will create tens of thousands jobs across the country while reducing climate and local environmental impacts and protecting public health.”