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Thread: Removing old oil rigs harms the environment

  1. #1 Removing old oil rigs harms the environment 
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    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Washington State
    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. "

    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    The only justification I can see for their removal is if the represent a navigational hazard. I can see that there may be instances where, because of their size, restricted navigable routes (because of water depth) in the vicinity and high density of large traffic that warning systems may not be judged adequate because of the high cost of any failure. I suspect such instances would be in a minority.

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  4. #3  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Nov 2008
    New Zealand
    There is an interesting theory relating to structures like oil rigs. We know that the ocean is deficient in iron, and iron is an essential nutrient. One of the ideas for absorbing CO2 and thus reducing global warming is to pump into the ocean vast amounts of soluble iron. This causes a phytoplankton bloom, and phytoplankton absorbs CO2.

    With respect to oil rigs and modern ship wrecks, we have a whole lot of iron dumped into the ocean. As it slowly leaches into the water, it stimulates living things to grow on its surface, in the iron rich environment.

    As a keen scuba diver, I can witness to the fact that iron shipwrecks are oases of vibrant life in the ocean. You get something like the wreck of the Yongala in Queensland, Australia, which sits in the middle of a vast expanse of almost lifeless sand. Yet the wreck itself is covered with coral growths, and swarming with fish.

    Here is the interior of the Yongala, with iron surfaces covered with marine growths and massive schools of fish.

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