The Bureau of Land Management says its strategy for cleaning up old oil wells in the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska will focus initially on 16 high priority sites.
Alaska BLM director Bud Cribley says the 16 pose high risk to the surface.
The federal government from the 1940s to the 1980s directed that 136 exploratory wells be drilled in the more than 35,000-square mile reserve.
The BLM plan included an assessment of the surface and subsurface conditions of each well.
The agency says more than half of the wells require no additional action because they have been remediated or they pose no threat.
Another 50 are in various stages of cleanup.
The BLM says surface cleanup at three sites on the Simpson Peninsula could begin next year.