Relationship of Rigs-to-Reefs to U.S. Environmental Conservation Law
Abstract:Legal and policy research examines the rigs-to-reefs concept as an alternative to obsolete petroleum production platform removal in the context of existing U.S. wildlife conservation law. The Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act and their implementing regulations provide procedures for the taking of endangered species and marine mammals. The Outer Continental Shelf Act and its accompanying regulations requires removal of obsolete platform structures. A recent review of those regulations requested comments on use of platforms as artificial reefs as an alternative to removal, but subsequent regulatory revisions did not include this option. Concurrent with the regulatory proposals, it became known that the explosive removal of obsolete petroleum production structures was resulting in the death or injury of endangered sea turtles and protected marine mammals. This analysis reviews the compliance of the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Minerals Management Service with the Section 7 Consultation procedures mandated by the Endangered Species Act, and the Section 101 Small Take Exemption requirements of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. A review of the statutes, regulations and legislative history was compiled as a basis from which to assess the regularity of permit procedures and the effectiveness of agency use of consultations. The objective of the review was to insure agency compliance with existing law. Initial review and analysis provided the impetus for improved agency permit review and subsequent modification of agency procedures for initiating consultations.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: March 1, 1989
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