This story will resonate with anyone who's lived along the gulf coast and enjoyed the treasure trove of excellent fishing at old rigs that dot the coast, often just a few hour or two by boat offshore. They become vibrant ecosystems in their own right and attract a wide spectrum of marine and bird life. Time to remove overly broad and often unscientific regulations which automatically force their removal.
" The dormant oil platform known as High Island 389-A rises out of the Gulf of Mexico about 100 miles southeast of Galveston. Below the surface, corals, sea fans and sponges cover its maze of pipes. Schools of jack and snapper, solitary grouper and barracuda circle in its shadows. Dive boats periodically stop at the enormous structure, where dolphins, sea turtles and sharks are often spotted. ...
Much of the marine life on or around the structure dies, either from the explosions to separate the platform from its supports or when it is toppled or towed to shore and recycled as scrap metal. The prospect of losing so much life has brought together an unusual collection of allies hoping to convert High Island and many similar structures into protected reefs. “These structures attract marine life that normally wouldn’t use the area,” said Greg Stuntz, chairman of ocean and fisheries health at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi. “Much is growing on them, from corals up to marine mammals.”
A typical four-legged platform becomes the equivalent of two to three acres of habitat, according to estimates by government scientists. "