There are an estimated 200,000 of them, and the cost to plug them could exceed $6 billion.

PITTSBURGH (AP) — By some accounts, Pennsylvania has the worst accumulation of old, unplugged, ownerless oil and gas wells in the nation.

There are an estimated 200,000 of them, and the cost to plug them could exceed $6 billion.

The state’s orphan well plugging program has been underfunded for decades, but may benefit from President Biden’s proposal to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure.

Cementing shut wells has emerged as a popular policy in the past year — for environmental groups who want to cap scattered hazards that leak brine, oil and methane and for oil and gas companies who see it as a growth area as drilling declines.

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