Congressman to Secretary of Interior: Do Not Destroy Oil Rigs

Texas Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-Tx) tells Interior Secretary Ken Salazar it is a mistake to require the removal of all non-producing oil rigs.

Coral growth covers old oil rig

Coral growth covers old oil rig

Thick coral grows over a non-producing oil rig.Brandon Cole (

A Texas congressman has added his voice to those concerned with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s 2010 decision requiring the removal from the Gulf of Mexico of all non-producing oil rigs/structures within five years.

"I believe this directive is merely a knee-jerk response to the Gulf oil spill and creates more problems than it solves," writes Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-Tx) in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, dated May 10, 2012. "These structures provide habitat to dozens of species of fish, coral, and other marine life, many of which are structure-dependent," Farenthold advises the secretary. "Not only are fishermen, the oil industry, and recreational users aware of the positive impact these rigs have, but our schools are now incorporating artificial reefs into their curriculum, using charts and diagrams to illustrate their environmental benefits, including one published by the Department of the Interior." Farenthold worked closely with the Coastal Conservation Association in formulating the letter.

Earlier this month, Texas governor Rick Perry sent a similar letter of concern to Salazar. In late April, the Environmental Defense Fund announced that it "stands with fishermen in calling for suspension of rig removal policy." To see the entire letter, click here.