The North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources is in the process of capping more than 400 orphaned oil and gas wells in an effort to return usable land to farmers and employ laid-off oil and gas workers, KFYR reported. Orphaned wells, so-called because they have been abandoned by unknown or insolvent operators, are a source of air and water pollution that can hamper if not halt agriculture production. Ryan Henry, a Bottineau County farmer, told KFYR he lost 70 acres to brine spots caused by abandoned wells but was hopeful the land could be restored. “I realize it’s going to be a potentially five to seven year process before they get them all done but it’s not just going to benefit our farm, it’s going to benefit several of my neighbors farms as well,” he said. The North Dakota DMR plans to use $66 million from the CARES Act coronavirus relief package and employ at least 600 workers from the hard-hit oil and gas sector to cap orphaned wells across the state. Orphaned wells in the US emit so much methane, a potent greenhouse gas, that emissions are roughly equal to the global warming pollution of 2.1 million passenger cars each year, according to a Resources for the Future report published last month. (KFYR)