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Because there is a significant amount of land disturbance during the construction phase of a well site, these sites have large amounts of soil exposed to wind and water, which can cause stormwater and soil retention concerns. Reclamation rules are designed to minimize these impacts during the life of the well site as well as following plugging and abandonment of the well. Interim reclamation regulations, which apply during the construction and operation phases, require operators to take steps to control the movement of storm water on a well site and mitigate erosion in areas that are not needed for production and operation. Well operators must replant vegetation that was disturbed and backfill unnecessary holes and pits.

At the end of an oil or gas well’s productive life, it is plugged and abandoned and final reclamation of the well site is required. Some jurisdictions require that a reclamation plan be filed with the regulatory agency before reclamation occurs. All jurisdictions featured in this dataset require the operator to file a financial assurance, which can be used to mitigate reclamation needs if the operator fails to fulfill this duty.

This dataset includes law for 17 states and federal rules for lands and minerals managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the U.S. Forest Service, current as of November 25, 2015. To explore the variation in these laws, use the blue "Start Here" box below. For a summary of all of the law compiled for a specific jurisdiction, click on the corresponding part of the map. 

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If you have questions, corrections, or additions, please contact Matt Samelson at oilandgasbmps@colorado.edu.

Related Resources

LawAtlas Interactive Maps: 
Air Quality:  Air Quality Laws Pertaining to Oil and Gas Development
Water Quality:  Permitting, Design, and Construction
Water Quality:  Well Drilling
Water Quality:  Well Completion
Water Quality:  Production and Operation
Water Quality:  Reclamation
Water Quantity:  Quantity


Did you know?

Laws in eight out of 18 jurisdictions examined here require land reclamation plans to be submitted for well sites.


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Map Legend: State Included in research. Not included in research.