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Gen. Honoré calls on oil and gas companies to handle orphaned wells

General Honore in Lafayette.PNG
Posted at 5:43 PM, Oct 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-05 18:43:56-04

Standing outside Lafayette's Petroleum Club, retired Lieutenant General Russel Honoré is calling on oil and gas companies to do more when it comes to thousands of orphaned wells.

"They didn't do what our mom always taught us. Mom always said clean up after yourself. Clean up your mess," Honoré said.

There are currently more than 4,500 orphaned wells in the state. One of those wells is located in St. Martin Parish and needs to be plugged.

"We done what we can with what we got... We do the best we can."

Speaking with KATC, The Department of Natural Resources says that since 1993, they have plugged, or removed more than 3,000 wells, no longer being used, through the state's oilfield site restoration program.

"The funds come from fees for operators of petroleum and gas. so much per barrel. also inactive well fee," Patrick Courreges with DNR said.

General Honoré claims it's taxpayer money footing the bill.

"They're lying," he said. "If somebody told you that the company, if the company goes and independently cleans them, yeah they pay for them, these companies pass them over to a little Llc that goes bankrupt, then the state takes them over."

Honoré says he is asking the state to change laws that prevent oil companies from cleaning and plugging the wells themselves.

"They have to do an environmental study to clean up a well that is spewing oil and methane in there. They have to pay someone to do that. And if they're in an oyster zone, they have to pay an oyster fund, in some places the oysters don't even grow," Honoré says.

DNR says they are continuing to work as quickly as possible to fill in the orphaned wells.

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