Should [they] stay or should [they] go isn’t just a paraphrase of a popular song by the Clash; it’s also a question that many in California are asking with regard to the more than two dozen now fallow oil rigs that lie off the Souther California Coast. As the KABC Story reports,
many peopl regard the platforms as an eyesore that were to be removed by the oil companies after the oil dried up. But the rigs also provide “digs” for fish and millions of marine animals – and as a result, removal of the rigs may destroy this newly created habitat.
Joe Geever of Surfrider Foundation, who’s quoted in the story, opposes leaving reefs in place, because he believes that it would set a dangerous precedent for future developers. Says Geever
Beyond just these oil platforms, now they’re talking about wave-energy facilitators and LNG terminals, and all sorts of industrial uses in the ocean,” said Geever. “And does this set up precedent, once you’re done with that stuff, just leave your junk behind and call it something quaint?”
Well, what about using oil platforms as test sites for wave energy projects? That way, fish can keep their habitat and demonstration wave projects can be deployed quickly. Of course, a rigs to renewables program isn’t so simple; there are a number of issues that would need to be resolved, such as which entity would have responsibility for maintaing the platform or liability for any damage to it. If you’re interested in learning more about the possibility of a rigs to renewables program, see this paper on a rigs to renewable program .