Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 45.2. Mines, Minerals, and Energy
Chapter 16. Virginia Gas and Oil Act

§ 45.2-1642. Orphaned Well Fund; orphaned wells.

A. There is hereby created in the state treasury a special nonreverting fund to be known as the Orphaned Well Fund, referred to in this section as "the Fund." All moneys appropriated to it and any surcharges collected pursuant to subsection D shall be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Fund. Interest earned on moneys in the Fund shall remain in the Fund and be credited to it. The Fund shall be established on the books of the Comptroller. Any moneys remaining in the Fund, including interest thereon, at the end of each fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund but shall remain in the Fund. Moneys from the Fund shall be used solely for purposes of restoration and plugging of orphaned wells. Expenditures and disbursements from the Fund shall be made by the State Treasurer on warrants issued by the Comptroller upon written request signed by the Director or his designee.

B. The Director shall conduct a survey to determine the condition and location of orphaned wells in the Commonwealth. He shall establish priorities for the plugging and restoration of the identified orphaned wells. The plugging and restoration of orphaned well sites that pose an imminent danger to public safety shall have the highest priority.

C. In performing his duties under this section, the Director shall make every reasonable effort to identify and obtain the permission of a surface owner prior to entering onto the surface owner's land. In all cases, the Director shall as soon as practicable cause to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or city wherein an orphaned well is located a notice of the proposed plugging and restoration work to be conducted on the property.

D. Each operator who applies for a new permit for any activity other than geophysical operations shall pay a $200 surcharge per permit into the Fund. Such surcharge shall continue until the Director determines that all orphaned wells in the Commonwealth are properly plugged and their sites are properly stabilized.

E. In the event of a discontinuance of the Fund, any amounts remaining in the Fund shall be placed in the Gas and Oil Plugging Restoration Fund created pursuant to § 45.2-1634.

1990, c. 92, § 45.1-361.40; 2017, c. 18; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 387.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.