Author ORCID Identifier

Degree Year


Document Type

Thesis - Oberlin Community Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




Paul Brehm

Committee Member(s)

Economics Department


Tax, Growth, Industry regulation, Environmental regulation, Orphan well, Well capping


This paper investigates the unintended consequences of oil and gas legislation aimed at promoting the capping of idle and orphaned wells in Ohio. On September of 2018, Ohio passed House Bill 225, which reallocated the share of oil and gas severance tax dollars, by shifting the share of funds set aside for well capping from 14% to 30%. Using a difference-in-differences comparison of the set of wells located in border counties in Pennsylvania and Ohio, this paper reflects on the effects of HB225. Findings show that while the number of well permits issued per county per month in the set of Ohio border counties increased after HB225, the set of existing wells that were plugged remained unchanged. Using a linear probability model, the probability that wells that were permitted were actually drilled remained unchanged, while the probability that drilled wells were plugged also remained unchanged overall, and actually decreased in the northern region of border counties. The findings of this study contribute to Sa growing literature on the failure of regulatory policy to provide meaningful effects on environmental outcomes, due to a lack of implementation strategy and unintended consequences of new legislation.