[Coral-List] Bring Back the Gulf

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Mon Aug 4 23:13:31 EDT 2014

   Dear Gene,

   I assumed that the mandate requiring that these rigs be removed and the
   seabed restored to itâs natural state comes directly from the contracts that
   the oil companies agreed to as a condition of approval to drill offshore in
   the  first  place. Referring  to these structures as âessential marine
   habitatsâ  is  rather curious as scientific research on the ecological
   benefits    appears   to   be   inconclusive.   In   fact   there   is
   considerable dispute over whether current research holds that it would be
   better  for the marine environment if partial or complete removal were
   required. Oceana, an advocacy organization that supported California's
   rigs-to-reefs law, noted that "while oil platforms may appear to benefit
   certain species and recreational stakeholders, decisions on decommissioning
   must also take into account there is no evidence platforms provide net
   ecological benefits to the marine ecosystem as a whole relative to areas
   left in their natural state." As for following the money . . . why not focus
   on those who benefit the most from the cost savings when a rig is converted
   to "reef" rather than removed. That might tell you something about the
   motivation behind competing advocacies involved in this issue. I'd also like
   to know if the use of explosives is specifically stipulated in the existing
   decommissioning regulations applied to the rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. I was
   under the impression that there are other ways to cut below the mud line.


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