After Wyoming Oil and Gas Commission supervisor Grant Black resigned last week, the commission is working hard, while understaffed, to keep the ball rolling on current projects.
"I'm very appreciative of the staff here. they're a little understaffed now, and they're working very hard.” said Governor Matt Mead.
Especially with everything on the Wyoming Oil and Gas Commission's plate.
“Its sort of a hectic time on top of that and the requests on orphaned and abandoned wells and the rule changes that we're trying to work through so they're very busy and we're going to try and be as quick as we can on finding the new supervisor.” said Mead.
Supervisor Grant Black resigned April 1st, while Mark Watson is appointed interim supervisor until a replacement is found but the commission continues with major projects.
“In order for us to do the best job at the oil and gas commission we need to made sure that we're staying on top of those orphaned and abandoned wells and getting them plugged.” said Mead.
Governor Mead says filling orphan wells is crucial, especially after getting behind on the process. “Its a huge process and we've asked for public input. we had a great meeting a week or so ago and we're going to continue with that public process.”
There are 1,200 abandoned wells now, and nearly 2,000 more near drying up, but because most of the companies owning these wells went bankrupt part of the money to fill them is going to have to come from somewhere else.
"The state of Wyoming has a conservation tax that is assessed on all the minerals produced by the companies in the state of Wyoming and they'll take a portion of that, that $3 million dollars is coming from that fund and that fund will pay of the plugging and abandonment of those wells." said Bruce Hinchey from the Petroleum Association of Wyoming.