On February 21, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) Midwestern States Director Chris Horton attended the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement’s (BSEE) workshop on the Rigs to Reefs program in New Orleans as a follow-up to their November informational meeting in Houston. During the workshop, participants discussed the permitting process for the Rigs to Reefs program and potential revisions to the 2009 addendum that established the 5 mile separation requirement between reefing areas. BSEE also indicated that they were going to lift the current moratorium on reefing in place in order to increase industry participation in the program.
The Department of the Interior issued the Idle Iron guidance for the decommissioning of wells and platforms in the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf Region on September 15, 2010. The guidance stipulated that wells and platforms meeting the definition of “no longer useful for operations” be removed as soon as possible but no later than 5 years after the effective date of this guidance or within 5 years of the platform meeting the definition of no longer useful for operations, whichever is later. However, many of these rigs provide habitat for numerous fish species, making them some of the best recreational fishing locations in the Gulf. The sport fishing community is currently working with key members of Congress, the Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, BSEE, the oil industry and many others to offset the environmental impact of removing these decommissioned reefs through the Rigs to Reefs program, which uses the scraps from decommissioned rigs to create artificial reef sites. CSF is currently working with both the recreational fishing community and Members of Congress to introduce legislation that would serve to resolve this issue.
For more information on the Rigs to Reefs program and the Idle Iron policy, please click here.