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Meet the retired oil exec plugging forgotten wells to reduce emissions

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Nine million Americans live near an orphan oil and gas well. These wells have no owner and were never sealed, so they're leaking out tons of methane and deadly gases unchecked. Tracking them down and sealing them with cement can be so costly that most states don't do it. But with new funding comes new hope. Follow one ex-oil executive and his team as he hunts down and plugs forgotten oil wells.

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Orphan wells are a huge source of methane as well as air, ground, and water pollution. They're called "orphan wells" because no one wants to take care of them anymore. There are a few things governments can do to plug orphan wells and to ensure that they are less likely to be orphaned in the first place.

Governments can work with oil and gas companies as well as non-profits to prioritize the plugging and abandonment of orphan wells. This can involve providing funding, incentives, or regulatory requirements to encourage companies to take responsibility for the wells they have abandoned.

Governments can establish programs that provide funding or technical assistance to remediate orphan wells. These programs can help cover the costs of plugging and abandonment, and also help with cleanup and remediation efforts.

New technologies such as microbe-based solutions, and high-resolution 3D seismic mapping can help locate and remediate orphan wells more efficiently and effectively. Governments can support research and development of such technologies, and provide incentives for their adoption.

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