The toxic legacy of old oil wells: California’s multibillion-dollar problem

by Mark Olalde and Ryan Menezes, LA Times


  • 35,000 wells have been sitting idle for years because of suspended production, which can contaminate the water supplies and cause fumes to leak
  • Fossil fuel companies are required by law to set aside bonds for the clean up and remediation of oil well sites but the bonds might not hold enough funds to cover the expected billions of dollars needed for clean up
  • Until wells are unplugged and dismantled they can emit toxic chemicals and flammable gasses into the pipes that connect to homes.
  • More people of color and of low-income status live near an oil well, increasing their exposure to harmful emissions

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