H.R. 4270 would authorize the appropriation of specific amounts each year from 2022 through 2026, totaling $163 million, for the Department of Energy (DOE), in coordination with other federal and state agencies, to establish an abandoned oil and gas well research and demonstration program. Under the program, DOE would focus on developing technologies and strategies to improve abandoned well identification, increase the efficiency of abandoned well plugging and repurposing, and mitigate the effects of abandoned wells on the environment.
For this estimate, CBO assumes that the bill will be enacted near the end of fiscal year 2022 and that the specified amounts will be appropriated each year. However, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Public Law 117-58) appropriated $30 million to DOE for similar activities in 2022—an amount equal to what H.R. 4270 would authorize for that same year. Accordingly, CBO’s estimate of the budgetary effects of the bill reflects authorizations totaling $133 million over the 2022-2026 period—the difference between the amounts specified in the bill and the amounts provided under current law.
Based on historical spending patterns for similar programs, CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 4270 would cost $69 million over the 2022-2026 period and $64 million after 2026.
The costs of the legislation, detailed in Table 1, largely fall within budget function 270 (energy).