Pump jacks sit idle on a South Texas ranch near Bigfoot. Deserted drilling wells are the relics of every oil bust, and Texas is pitted with more than any other place in the U.S. Eric Gay/AP
dallasnews.com - by Chris Siron - The Associated Press - by Paul J. Weber - June 19, 2016
The worst oil bust since the 1980s is putting Texas and other oil producing states on the hook for thousands of newly abandoned drilling sites at a time when they have little money to plug wells and seal off environmental hazards.
In Texas alone, the roughly $165 million price tag of plugging nearly 10,000 abandoned wells is double the entire budget of the agency that regulates the industry.
The state's regulators want taxpayers to cover more of the clean-up, supplementing industry payments.
As U.S. rig counts plunge to historic lows, and with at least 60 oil producers declaring bankruptcy since 2014, energy-producing states are confronting holes in their budgets and potentially leaking ones in the ground.
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