Oil pumpjacks operate in the Inglewood Oil Field on January 28, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.The Biden administration on Monday announced it will send $1.15 billion to states to plug thousands of orphan oil and gas wells that emit methane, a potent climate-changing greenhouse gas.

Methane is a main component of natural gas and accounts for 10% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The oil and gas industry represents nearly 30% of the country’s methane emissions.

Methane is 84 times more potent than carbon and doesn’t last as long in the atmosphere before it breaks down, which makes it a significant target for reducing global warming more quickly while simultaneously working to reduce other greenhouse gases.

The funding to plug oil and gas wells comes from President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, which allocated a total of $4.7 billion to form a new federal program to address the thousands of wells abandoned across the country.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement that the funding enables the government to “confront the legacy pollution and long-standing environmental injustices that for too long have plagued underrepresented communities.”

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