Oil wells in Lea County, New Mexico were abandoned by a Midland Oil Company and now they have been taken to court.

According to the Midland Reporter-Telegram, Midland Based Northstar Operating Company is being sued for abandoning oil wells just north of the Permian Basin in Lea County, NM.

The suit alleges that the company did not clean up about 1,000 acres of State Trust Land that they were supposed to clean up which was in the contract the company had with the state of New Mexico.

The suit also stated that eleven abandoned wells were supposed to be capped and the land restored by removing well pads, roads, equipment, trash, and debris.

“I take my responsibility to steward the state trust land in my care very seriously, and that is why we are continuing to take companies to court when they shirk their legal responsibility to clean up the land,” said Stephanie Garcia Richard, New Mexico State Land Commissioner. While many companies are working with us, our legal efforts thus far have proven successful and we will continue pursuing legal action when companies walk away without cleaning up.”

The Land Office notified Northstar by a letter sent on February 23, 2021 that the lease had ended and it had 60 days to remove all equipment and return the land to its original state within that time limit.

Northstar has not done any capping of wells or removing of pumpjacks and other equipment within the given time frame.

The cost of the lawsuit was reportedly in the "high six-figure range."

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