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Environmentalist Al Gore has revealed the shocking findings of an Associated Press investigation into abandoned oil and gas wells. In his blog, the former US vice president described the impending disaster that these wells could cause.

“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,” Gore quoted from the AP report. “No one – not industry, not government – is checking to see if they are leaking. The oldest of these wells was abandoned in the late 1940s, raising the prospect that many deteriorating sealing jobs are already failing.”

Since regulations do not require temporarily abandoned wells, some of which have sat in limbo since the 50s and 60s, to be plugged the same way as permanently closed wells, the potential for leakage and therefore risk to the environment is great.

“These are 27,000 potential environmental catastrophes waiting to happen,” wrote Gore. “We need action now – not only to make sure these wells are safe, but also to move away from fossil fuels, so no more wells need to be drilled.”

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