When ranchers Doyle and Brenda Burden of Weeletka purchased their land over two decades ago, they noticed a big area of saltwater erosion from an old abandoned well site. The Burdens worked their way around the hazard and avoided the area as best they could. Years later, Doyle saw a commercial for the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board well site clean up program and decided to give them a call.
“They came out, and sure enough, there were three oil production sites that had been abandoned decades ago.” Over nine months, the OERB cleaned up the three sites on the Burden’s property, restoring the land back to its original pristine condition—at no cost to the Burdens.
The OERB was created in 1993 and is voluntarily funded by the oil and natural gas industry. Oklahoma producers and royalty owners contribute to the program through an assessment on the sale of oil and natural gas with a mission to clean up orphaned and abandoned well sites across the state.
For over 20 years, the OERB has restored more than 16,000 abandoned or orphaned well sites in 71 of 77 Oklahoma counties at a cost of nearly $113 million to date. The OERB currently cleans up 2–3 sites a day.
“I just couldn’t be happier with what the OERB has done. And it was all free. How can you ask for anything more?” asked Doyle.
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