Much to the displeasure of oil companies and recreational fishing advocates, the National Marine Fisheries Service announced last week that the 13 oil platforms in Southern California waters – including nine in the Santa Barbara Channel – are not essential fish habitat. Under current law, the multimillion-dollar burden of removing the massive rigs and restoring the ocean floor to its natural state falls on the oil companies once their leases expire. But oil companies contend the towering underwater pillars supporting the rigs have become “artificial” habitat for thousands of fish – including the threatened rockfish – and therefore should be capped off and left behind once the rig is abandoned. Despite strong environmental opposition, the Fisheries Service has not ruled out the “rigs to reef” proposal.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

County Fire Chief Calls for More Fuel Breaks

Peterson wants to create a continuous front country line from Montecito to Goleta.

Crime Rates Down, Youth Arrests Up in Santa Barbara County

A 'high percentage' of misdemeanor citations happen on school campuses.

Will Hollister Ranch Access Deal Hold Up Under Public Scrutiny?

State commissioners are taking a closer look at settlement over beach access to Santa Barbara County gated ...

Faced with a Gun, Sheriff’s Sergeant Holds His Fire

Sgt. Freddy Padilla reflects on potentially life-saving decisions during welfare call.

Quick Response in Large Numbers Held Holiday Fire at Bay

Record heat on July 6 destroyed crops and livestock.