A veteran-sponsored, nonprofit company focused on maintaining and improving the nation’s lands by plugging abandoned oil wells was launched Friday, April 22 as part of Earth Day. Environmental Innovators of America is an Oklahoma City-based company formed by Tiger Oil Co. and Major Ed Pulido of the John Daly-Major Ed Heart of a Lion Foundation. This nonprofit is adamant about helping the environment by accelerating the retirement of abandoned or orphaned oil wells by raising money for plugging operations. Besides plugging orphaned wells, the nonprofit will partner with foundations dedicated to the cleanup of holdover chemicals and will salvage abandoned and rusting equipment.
“The problem of abandoned oil wells is significant,” Grant Cooke, president, said. “Orphaned wells are a huge environmental hazard—literally a ticking time bomb ready to go off. They leak methane gas into the atmosphere, which contributes to climate change. Over time, they become pathways for oil, gas, or briny water to migrate into groundwater and soil, impacting agriculture and ranching.”
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, unplugged wells leak 280,000 metric tons of methane into the atmosphere each year, though experts have estimated far higher totals. There are over 2 million orphaned, inactive, and unplugged wells in the U.S., according to the EPA, which equates to 7-20 million metric tons a year. Plugging costs per well range from $25,000-$75,000, so the importance of this issue is at an all-time high. “This is an opportunity for oil and gas industry professionals to make a difference by taking action through this nonprofit,” says Cooke.
The U.S. has a long history with oil and gas. Hydrocarbons are a driving force in the economy and culture. “Helping this country clean up abandoned wells is good for the industry,” Cooke noted. “And by hiring veterans, we can do something good for those who paid the ultimate price for freedom.”
The company provides a portion of revenue to Heart of the Lion, Folds of Honor, and related veteran groups.