Big South Fork Park plugs abandoned wells

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- More than a dozen abandoned oil and gas wells in the Big South Fork Park will be plugged this spring and summer with federal funds through a cooperative agreement with the Tennessee Department of Conservation.

The well plugging project is the largest such effort ever undertaken by a national park in the United States.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports there are more than 250 private oil and gas wells scattered throughout the Big South Fork's 125,000 acres that geologists say were dug during the oil and gas booms in the 1970s and 1980s.

During a recent morning, workers prepared to pump cement slurry into a well that was still pumping out a steady flow of natural gas.

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