Help Protect Gulf Marine Habitat--Support S.1555/H.R. 3429

Posted on October 14, 2010

Send a message to your members of Congress today urging them to support legislation to protect marine habitat and leave unused oil and gas structures in the Gulf of Mexico as artificial reefs.

In a knee-jerk response to the Gulf oil spill, the U.S. Department of Interior issued the "Idle Iron" directive in October of 2010 ordering that all non-producing rigs be plugged and any remaining structure removed within five years of the issuance of that directive. Those structures are generally regarded as the largest man-made artificial reef in the world, providing habitat to dozens of species of fish and other marine life. 
 
In response, Sen. David Vitter (R-La) and Rep. Steve Palazzo (R-Ms.) have filed bills called the Rigs to Reefs Habitat Protection Act of 2011 (S.1555/H.R. 3429), which seeks to allow those structures to remain in the Gulf as vibrant artificial reefs.
 
“More than ever we need to create habitat for marine life in the Gulf, not dispose of it,” said Sen. Vitter.  “These idle rigs are serving a valuable purpose by supporting our fisheries, and it just doesn’t make sense to remove them.”
 
The Rigs to Reefs Habitat Protection Act would not allow platforms to be removed until an assessment has been completed to determine whether there are coral populations or other protected species in the vicinity of the platform, and to identify any species that have recreational or commercial value. The Act further states that companies are exempt from the requirement to remove platforms from the marine environment as long as the owner commits to converting the platform into an artificial reef either by initiating discussions with applicable state governments regarding potential sites for the artificial reef or by taking steps to provide for “reefing in place.”
 
In order to ensure this important bill is passed, send a message to your Members of Congress today asking them to support the Rigs to Reefs Habitat Protection Act of 2011.

Issues: Gulf of Mexico