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Homework answers / question archive / Discussion Forum 3: Rigs to Reefs 3535 unread replies

Discussion Forum 3: Rigs to Reefs 3535 unread replies


Discussion Forum 3: Rigs to Reefs

3535 unread replies.6969 replies.

Now that you have had an opportunity to discuss the expansion of offshore drilling and how it affects (and is affected by) the oceans, I want you to turn your focus to what we should do with the existing offshore oil platforms once they no longer produce oil. This is the premise for one of the most controversial coastal issues that the California state government has debated in recent years. 

This is a complex issue that you will need to do some background research to appreciate the many players and concerns.

To briefly introduce you to the problem: When oil companies initially received the rights to drill off of the California coast, the legal contract said they had to completely remove the structures once they were no longer producing oil. However, we have now found that the rigs seem to make excellent artificial reefs that house large amounts of marine life. While some think we should now allow the oil companies to leave them for their potential ecological benefit, others feel like they are eyesores, that they do more harm than good and thus should be removed. Those who are opposed also do not want to let the oil companies off the hook for the removal costs, which they had legally agreed to. 

Back in 2010, a bill (AB 2503) was passed and signed by then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger which “allows a platform owner or operator to design a ‘partial removal’ plan for a platform and to apply for permission to implement it”.  However, due to significant resistance from opposing environmental groups in addition to legal requirements that were not so financially attractive to the oil companies, the plan of converting rigs to permanent reefs in California never really came to fruition. 

Many people still think that too many questions remain unaddressed.

DIRECTIONS: Read the information available in the following links that include a cross-section of background information, local news, and agency reports. After reading through all of the recommended material as well as anything you can find on the web, post your opinion on what you think should be done with the local off-shore oil rigs along with your reasoning (at least 200 words).  Then, after reading additional posts from your classmates, choose two that interest you and respectfully explain why you support or disagree with their position (at least 100 words for each response).

SPECIFIC GUIDELINES FOR THIS POST: To get full credit, you must support your opinion with data/information along with citations for where you got your data/information from.  This is how you demonstrate that you have an adequate understanding of the issues. Your opinion should consider the following:

  • Should the rigs be allowed to stay?
  • If so, in which form should they stay (complete, partial removal, etc)?
  • What effect would each of the options have on marine life?
  • What effect would the options have on the political realities and local community sentiments?
  • What are the pollution levels associated with different options?
  • Who should be legally liable for environmental harm and injuries if they remain? If the oil companies get to leave them in place, how much of the savings should they have to donate to the state?
  • If the structures remain in their current form, what should they be used for?
  • Has the new California State Law solved the problem or only made it more complex?

Alternatively, you may choose to address this subject on a broader set of questions:

  • Should we be creating artificial reefs in the first place?
  • If so, where is the line between creating an artificial reef and simply dumping trash in the ocean?
  • How do size, material, location and surrounding ecology matter?

While you can find many related articles on the web, here are a few to give you some background information:

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