WASHINGTON (CN) – The National Marine Fisheries Service is allowing the offshore oil and gas industry to use explosives to remove oil rigs from the Gulf of Mexico, even though it is likely to annoy dolphins and whales.
A 2008 regulation originally authorized the use of explosives, but the rule requires yearly re-authorizations, which the agency is permitting.
The marine mammals’ behavior patterns may be disturbed by the noise of the explosions and small fragments of debris.
Operators of offshore oil rigs are required to remove or decommission seafloor obstructions from their lease holdings within a year of lease termination or after a structure has been deemed obsolete or unusable.
The explosion that killed 11 men on board the Deepwater Horizon on April 20, and has resulted in the ongoing spill of oil into the Gulf of Mexico was not caused by the use of explosives to remove seabed obstructions, though the rig was in the beginning phases of decommissioning.