"A lead congressional committee investigating the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has broadened its inquiry, now checking if tens of thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells are leaking or even being monitored for leaks.
Committee members wrote in a letter Thursday to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that they were responding to an Associated Press investigation released last week on the 27,000 abandoned wells in the Gulf. The AP reported that the wells are not routinely inspected when plugged or subsequently monitored for leaks.
"These wells could pose an additional danger to the Gulf Coast environment and economy," wrote U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., who heads the subcommittee on energy and environment. They asked for details on the number of wells as well as leaking and inspection requirements. They asked for an initial reply by Monday."