At least 4,600 documented orphaned oil and gas wells are spread across Louisiana, with major human health and climate ramifications for the 230,000 people, including 15,000 children under five years old, who live within a mile of an orphan well. Many of those wells, plus the unknown number of undocumented orphan wells and unsealed “idle” wells that are not technically abandoned, are leaking toxic chemicals into ground water and heat-trapping methane into the atmosphere.
Rickey Jordan, his daughter, and two granddaughters, who live about 10 feet from a leaking 83-year-old gas well in their mostly Black neighborhood showed PBS the leak by pouring soapy water on it. “You can hear it. You can clearly see it. We just stopped the kids from playing back there in the yard. I worry because I don’t actually know what’s going on underground.” Mr. Jordan added, “I fear it’s just building up pressure.” (PBS NewsHour)