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BLM proposes sweeping changes to oil and gas reclamation program

Federal minimum bonds began to stagnate in 1951. In a win for environmental groups, the Biden administration wants to hike some and do away with another.

The Bureau of Land Management is moving to modernize federal bonding requirements meant to ensure the cleanup of abandoned oil and gas wells. The reforms come more than 60 years after the agency last updated the minimum bond amounts companies must pay before they can drill on BLM leases, Biden administration officials announced Thursday.

If finalized, the rule would put companies under more pressure to see their drilling projects through — a notable change to a federal program that has struggled to prevent wells from being abandoned in the past.

Under the existing rule, the bonds no longer com...

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