Fish Are Fueling a Battle to Preserve Offshore Rigs as Artificial Reefs along the California Coast

reefSprawled on the bottom level of a massive oil rig more than 11 miles from the shores of Long Beach, the half-dozen sea lions grow louder as our boat glides closer. One chews on a fish, holding it with long flippers, while nearly 300 feet above it rises the Ellen, a Mad Max-worthy assemblage of metal tubing and cables that pumps about 2,600 barrels of crude every day. A short distance away, attached by a latticework bridge, is its little sister, the Elly. If it’s strange to see wildlife on such a foreboding structure as it whirs and grinds, it’s stranger to think of all the sea life among the oil platform’s mooring lines and steel legs as
they extend about 260 feet to the ocean floor. “The deeper you go, the more marine life there is,” says Cal State Long Beach marine biologist Chris Lowe. In 2010, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed AB2503, otherwise known as the Rigs-to-Reefs Law, which permits certain oil and gas platforms to be left in place rather than completely removed once their drilling days are done. It was a third attempt to pass such a law. Read the story here 17:00