News Release

National Park Service announces $9.8 Million infrastructure investment to address legacy pollution in parks

Abandoned oil rig on the side of a hill.
Funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will restore the natural landscape of this abandoned oil well site in Channel Islands National Park.

NPS photo.

News Release Date: May 27, 2022


WASHINGTON -- The National Park Service has received approximately $9.8 million in funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to plug, remediate and reclaim abandoned oil and gas well sites in seven national parks. Overall, bureaus within the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture will address 277 high-priority wells that pose threats to human health and safety, the climate, wildlife and natural resources.

“Funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law enables us to tackle legacy pollution issues caused by past extraction activities in national parks,” said NPS Director Chuck Sams. “Closing and reclaiming abandoned oil and gas wells will alleviate these environmental hazards that jeopardize health and safety by contaminating groundwater, emitting noxious gases, and littering the landscape.”

The NPS estimates that between 150 and 180 wells in parks are abandoned or orphaned and will need to be plugged and reclaimed. Following are the projects funded this year.

Channel Islands National Park:
 Plug and restore a well.

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve: 
Plug and reclaim 10 wells located in waterways to remove navigation and safety hazards.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park:
 Plug and restore three wells.

Big Thicket National Preserve:
 Plug six wells and reclaim a site.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park: Plug a well and reclaim the site.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area:
 Inventory and assess multiple wells in the park for future closures.

West Virginia
Gauley River National Recreation Area: 
Plug a well and reclaim the site.

This allocation is part of $250 million provided by the law to clean up orphaned wells and well sites on federal public lands, including national parks, national wildlife refuges and national forests. Fiscal Year 2022 funding will be distributed to four agencies for work in nine states: the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the USDA Forest Service. The agencies are expected to immediately begin the process to acquire plugging and reclamation services through contracts and grants.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a $1 trillion investment in America’s infrastructure that will rebuild America’s roads and bridges, tackle the climate crisis, and advance environmental justice. This vital infusion of funds will make meaningful progress addressing environmental and infrastructure concerns in national parks, including wildland fire safety/restoration efforts, climate crisis intervention, legacy pollution eradication and clean energy enhancements. Containing $21 billion for legacy pollution clean-up, the law provides the largest investment in American history to clean Superfund and brownfield sites, reclaim abandoned mines and cap orphaned oil and gas wells.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at, and on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. 

Last updated: May 31, 2022