As coal companies go bankrupt there is growing concern and uncertainty over who will pay to clean up those mines. But Texas has been there before. In 2014, the state’s largest coal company filed for bankruptcy with over $1 billion in outstanding cleanup costs. Now, more than two years later, this case is held up an example of what works.
In many parts of the West, areas that are now houses and schools and shopping centers were once oil and gas fields. There’s little in the way of a visible legacy, but hidden underground, there are hundreds of thousands of abandoned wells. An Inside Energy investigation has discovered that in many communities, new development is happening on top of those old wells.