(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), top Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee, today sent a letter to the Honorable Sally Jewell, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI), regarding their planned removal of platform Ship Shoal 26, commonly known in Louisiana as “the Pickets,” which is a popular site for local anglers.
“We in the Gulf Coast are familiar with how idle rigs can develop into fertile marine habitats, home to some of the best fishing in the world. These artificial reefs are incredibly important to the growth and sustainability of the economy and environment in the Gulf,” said Vitter. “With Secretary Sally Jewell’s help, my hope is to preserve ‘the Pickets’ site for current and future generations of Louisiana anglers to enjoy.”
Earlier this year, Vitter introduced S. 1079, the Artificial Reef Promotion Act, which would increase the utilization of decommissioned Gulf platforms as artificial reefs, as part of the Rigs to Reefs program. Click here to read more.
Text of today’s letter is below.
September 25, 2013
Secretary Sally Jewell
U.S. Department of Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20240
Dear Secretary Jewell,
I am writing to you today with concern regarding the removal of platform Ship Shoal 26, which is in the process of being purchased by Fieldwood Energy, as part of a larger sale, from Apache Corporation. As you may know this site, more commonly referred to in Louisiana as “the Pickets”, has become a treasured site for Louisiana anglers since completion of its installation off the coast of Terrebonne Parish in the early 1970’s.
An unintended benefit of many of the idle rigs in the Gulf of Mexico has been the positive impact they have had on Louisiana fisheries. Many have developed into habitats that are capable of sustaining an abundance of marine life. This is why I commend your decision to delay implementation of the Idle Iron policy to allow the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and Fieldwood Energy additional time to come up with a strategy to allow as much of this platform to remain in place as safely possible.
I urge you to continue working with LDWF and Fieldwood Energy, and give every consideration to determine the most appropriate course of action to preserve this site. Allowing “the Pickets” to remain as a resource for Louisiana anglers will further highlight the important role existing platforms play in supporting marine habitats.
United States Senate