AP IMPACT: Gulf awash in 27,000 abandoned wells

In this undated photo released by the California State Lands Commission, a nearshore wellhead is excavated off California. In state waters, California has resealed scores of its abandoned wells since the 1980s, but in federal waters, the official policy is out-of-sight, out-of-mind. Neither industry nor government checks for leaks at the more than 27,000 oil and gas wells abandoned in the Gulf of Mexico since the late 1940s. Abandoned wells are known sometimes to fail both on land and offshore. It happens so often that a technical term has been coined for the repair job: "re-abandonment." (AP Photo/California State Lands Commission) (AP Photo/California State Lands Commission)

July 7, 2010 8:32:36 AM PDT
More than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells lurk in the hard rock beneath the Gulf of Mexico, an environmental minefield that has been ignored for decades. No one - not industry, not government - is checking to see if they are leaking, an Associated Press investigation shows.