Reality of rig removals seem to belie official stance

Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement numbers don’t add up, offshore anglers and scientists say

A spokesperson for the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said rig removal has not been, as suggested, recently ramped up as a knee-jerk response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster; however, many of those who have been making frequent trips out in the Gulf see it differently.

From his own experience, Migaud said the effort undoubtedly seems “expedited.” spearfisherman Terry “Papa Smurf” Migaud estimates that two or four rigs are being removed every week.Dr. Bob Shipp, a long-standing member of the Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council and the head of the University of South Mississippi’s Alabama Center for Estuarine Studies, said he had been informed that rigs are being removed at a rate of approximately one every three to four days.

On the non-profit EcoRigs Web site, director Steve Kolian provides maps and data about how many of the region’s rigs have been removed and how many are awaiting removals.

At the current pace, Kolian estimates 1,200 will be removed over the next five years.

Sammarco sees the removals in the past few years as not necessarily a “ramped-up effort” as much as playing catch-up after getting backlogged over decades: Perhaps not so much a change in the law as an increase in enforcement of existing laws.

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