The Indian Energy Service Center (IESC) serves as the Bureau Indian Affairs (BIA) office that is responsible for coordinating Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) funding and program activities for Tribal orphaned well plugging and abandonment, provided under Section 40601 of the IIJA.

Signed into law by President Biden on November 15, 2021, the IIJA defines an orphaned well as a well that is not used for an authorized purpose—such as production, injection, or monitoring—and for which no operator can be located, or the well operator is unable to plug the well and remediate and reclaim the well site. The IIJA provides up to $150 million in federal funding for the purpose of plugging orphaned wells and remediating and reclaiming orphaned well sites on Tribal lands.

While the Department of the Interior (DOI) policy and practice is to ensure that oil and gas wells and well sites on federal and Tribal lands are plugged, remediated, and reclaimed at the end of their productive lives, some wells have become orphaned throughout the United States’ long history of oil and gas development. These orphaned wells pose risks to human health and the environment.

The IIJA funding available to plug, remediate, and reclaim orphaned wells and well sites offers a historic opportunity to mitigate the adverse impacts and risks that orphaned wells pose on Tribal land. The IIJA provides funding to benefit-eligible Tribes via two means:

  1. Upon successful completion of a grant application and selection by DOI, an eligible Tribe may directly receive and use grant funding to perform the plugging, remediation, and reclamation of orphaned wells on its lands, either through a Tribally owned entity or through the services of a contractor procured by the Tribe to perform the work.
  2. Alternatively, an eligible Tribe may request that DOI perform the plugging, remediation, and reclamation of orphaned wells and well sites on its lands on the Tribe’s behalf.

Tribal Orphaned Well Grants

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) provides $150M for Tribal well plugging, remediation, and restoration. Tribes may seek funding to undertake the well plugging or may request that the Secretary administer the well plugging on behalf of the Tribe. The Office of Environmental Policy & Compliance (OEPC) has worked closely with the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Indian Energy Service Center to develop the following: 

Orphaned Well Grant Tribal Grant Program – application period open

The application period is now open for Tribes to apply for Orphaned Well grant funding from the Orphaned Well Program Office. Please provide this information to your respective tribes as the application period opened March 15, 2024.

The Department invites Federally Recognized Tribes to submit requests for Phase 2 grants and “In Lieu of Grant” assistance according to published final guidance. Up to $55 million is available for Phase 2 grant awards. A Tribe may apply for either or both types of Phase 2 grants or request In Lieu of Grant assistance, but not both a grant and In Lieu of Grant assistance during this Phase 2 opportunity.

Grants: The Department will accept applications for Program Development Grants and Implementation Grants until 11:59 p.m. ET on May 14, 2024.

Application requirements for the two grant types to be awarded under the current opportunity are detailed in the Final Guidance:

Tribal Implementation Grants fund plugging, remediation, and reclamation activities, including identification and assessment of orphaned wells on Tribal lands.

Tribal Program Development Grants fund activities to develop and administer a Tribal program to carry out plugging, remediation, and reclamation activities for orphaned wells on Tribal lands including identification and assessment, training, and other capacity-building activities.

***Training Webinars and Open Office Hours***

The Department will offer weekly “office hours” for all interested and prospective applicants every Wednesday, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. MT, from March 27 through May 8, 2024. PLEASE USE THIS ZOOM LINK TO ACCESS:

Topic: Orphaned Well Tribal Program Office Hours
Time: Mar 27, 2024 01:30 PM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

Every week on Wed, until May 8, 2024, 7 occurrence(s)
Mar 27, 2024 01:30 PM
Apr 3, 2024 01:30 PM
Apr 10, 2024 01:30 PM
Apr 17, 2024 01:30 PM
Apr 24, 2024 01:30 PM
May 1, 2024 01:30 PM
May 8, 2024 01:30 PM

Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.

Join ZoomGov Meeting

Meeting ID: 161 189 7666
One tap mobile
+16692545252,,1611897666# US (San Jose)
+14154494000,,1611897666# US (US Spanish Line)


Additional Information

Additional Resources

Contact Us

Indian Energy Service Center
13922 Denver West Parkway, Building 54, Suite 300
Lakewood, CO 80401
9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. MDT, Monday–Friday