Page 35: of Marine News Magazine (August 2013)

Salvage & Response

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ree? ng process down to some extent, however,? he warned. BSEEs new guidelines allow com- panies to avoid the removal process and enroll rigs in state-run, arti? cial reef programs. According to BSEE in June, rigs can be reefed in place or towed to a designated ree? ng area af- ter hazardous materials have been re- moved. A recent, ? ve-mile buffer zone between ree? ng areas was reduced to two miles. Storm-toppled platforms have been eliminated from ree? ng eligibility. The use of explosives on platforms proposed for ree? ng will be evaluated case-by-case, and wont be approved if natural biological features or established arti? cial reefs might be harmed. The agencys new guidelines extend decommissioning deadlines for companies converting rigs to reefs. The interim policy incorporates suggestions from stakeholders in workshops held in New Orleans and Houston over the past year. BSEE is expanding its staff to address removals and ree? ng proposals, and it plans to introduce GIS or Geographic Infor- mation Systems maps of platforms in Gulf federal waters. The maps will in- clude platform data overlays and can be used to identify candidates for reef- ing. Information on platforms prized by anglers and divers will be consid- ered as ree? ng options are assessed. The interim rigs-to-reefs guidelines should reverse the trend of old struc- tures being unnecessarily removed, and will let them stay in the water for the bene? t of ? sheries and anglers, ac- cording to American Sport? shing As- sociation (ASA) president and CEO Mike Nussman in late June. In recent years, the rate of oil-and- gas platform removals in the Gulf has exceeded installations, and new platforms have been installed farther from shore, reducing anglers access to them, the ASA said last month. Ten percent of 800 non-producing MN MN August2013 Layout 32-49.indd 357/23/2013 7:24:49 PM

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