In 1859, Colonel E. L. Drake drilled a successful oil well in Oil Creek, Pennsylvania, USA, and ignited a frenzied era of oil and gas exploration in the country. Several thousand oil and gas wells were drilled in the next few decades, a time when no government regulations or guidelines were in place to document drilling activity and there were no laws requiring exploration and/or drilling companies to remediate and/or plug abandoned wells. As a result, there are thousands of poorly documented or undocumented oil and gas wells scattered across the country, creating serious public safety and environmental issues.

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