The Osage Minerals Council is vying for funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021. A $150 million portion of the act, which was signed into law by President Biden on Nov. 15, has been set aside for tribes.
The council’s well plugging efforts are well underway but continuing to fund the program has its obstacles. Both the third and fourth councils have requested federal funding, but the funds have yet to be met in the full requested amount.
The program received $3 million in federal appropriations and then the council asked for an additional $10 million in April of last year. Out of the requested $10 million, the council received $1 million.
According to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, eligible tribes can receive a grant to, “Plug, remediate, or reclaim an orphaned well on Tribal land; to remediate soil and restore native species habitat that has been degraded due to the presence of an orphaned well or associated pipelines, facilities, or infrastructure on Tribal land; to remediate Tribal land adjacent to orphaned wells and decommission or remove associated pipelines, facilities, and infrastructure.”
Once the council applies for the grant it will take 60 additional days for the tribe to see the funding flow in.
Chairman Everett Waller said in the Jan. 7 council meeting, “I do know that we’re going to be up against a wall that’s just competitive bidding for the plugging dollars.” He continued, “We need to promote that we are doing this project and have been for decades.”
The council and its legal team from Patterson, Earnhardt, Real Bird and Wilson LLP have prepared the documents to apply for the grant to continue funding the well plugging operation.