Sandoval County, NM – April 6, 2023 – National conservation NGO the Well Done Foundation (WDF) today announced that it is joining with the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), and the New Mexico Wildlife Federation to plug an abandoned oil and gas well located on the L-Bar property west of Albuquerque in Sandoval County, New Mexico.
“Because of its size and elevation, the property protects a variety of habitats and allows species to move through zones that will mitigate the impacts of climate change,” said Greg Hiner, TPL’s Colorado and Southwest Director of Land Protection. “Scenically, it’s very dramatic as you move from these vast upper mesas at 8,000 or 9,000 feet into the lower valley, where there are volcanic cones. It’s a prototypical southwestern landscape.”
In 2022 the Trust for Public Land secured the L Bar property with help from the State of New Mexico, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, the local community, and other partners. This 53,000 acre property adds to the Marquez State Wildlife Area, more than quadrupling the wildlife area’s size, making it the largest in the state of New Mexico. Much of this stunning landscape is considered culturally significant by as many as 30 Native American tribes. The area is also habitat to more than 400 plant and animal species, including elk, pronghorn, and the pinyon jay, a species of greatest conservation need in New Mexico.
“We are incredibly excited to join with the Trust for Public Land and the State of New Mexico on this project,” WDF Director of Operations & Development Geoffrey Gordon-Creed said. “Plugging this well fulfills several of the Foundation’s mission goals. We are removing a potentially polluting well from environmentally significant and sensitive habitat, and by plugging this well and restoring the landscape around it, we honor the cultural importance that this land represents for the native tribes that have inhabited it for millennia.”
After plugging the well, the WDF will ultimately restore the area around it to its natural state. The Well Done Foundation has opened this project up to the public for financial support to help offset the cost of the plugging and repair of this magnificent landscape.
The “Well Done Process” is a multi-step initiative built upon public and private partnerships. WDF identifies methane -emitting orphaned and abandoned oil or gas wells and then qualifies them for plugging after emissions from the well are measured and monitored. Through partnerships with regulatory bodies and landowners, WDF develops a plan to plug the wells and restore impacted surface areas. Funding for each project is made possible through corporate or individual sponsorships.
About the Well Done Foundation
Formed in 2019 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, the Well Done Foundation’s mission has been to plug orphaned and abandoned oil and gas wells that leak harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The EPA estimates that there are approximately 2-3 million orphaned wells in the United States. Since it was formed, and with the support of regulators, landowners, private donors, and corporate sponsors, WDF has plugged more than 25 orphaned oil and gas wells in six states, permanently stopping methane gas emissions from these wells. Methane is 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the atmosphere. By eliminating these methane emissions, WDF has prevented the equivalent of 950,000 metric tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere, which is the equivalent of taking more than 200,000 gas-powered cars off the road for a year. WDF works with industry representatives, state and federal regulators and policy makers to inform them about the significant issues relating orphaned and abandoned wells and to help them solve the problem.