TOOLE COUNTY — An abandoned or orphaned oil well is a well that was once used by oil and gas drilling companies to retrieve those fossil fuels from the earth, but has since been left to its own devices. Companies can decide to orphan wells for a number of reasons, including struggling oil prices and bankruptcy.

As you drive down the highway in many parts of Northern Montana, you might breathe in a strong smell of oil and gas. Toole County Commissioner Mary Ann Harwood says that too many people are mistaking this smell for the norm, instead of recognizing the problems that come with it.

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