S.96 - Rigs To Reefs Habitat Protection Act

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1/23/2013--Introduced. Rigs to Reefs Habitat Protection Act - Directs the Secretary of the Interior to assess each offshore oil and gas platform in the Gulf of Mexico that is no longer useful for operations, and has become critical for a marine fisheries habitat, to: (1) determine whether there are coral populations or other protected species in the platform's vicinity, and (2) identify any species in the vicinity that have recreational or commercial value. Prohibits the removal of any such platforms until the Secretary has completed each assessment. Requires suspension of the decommissioning of a platform if a substantial reef ecosystem is in the vicinity until the Secretary determines that decommissioning would not harm the ecosystem. Exempts from certain platform removal deadlines any lessees who: (1) commit to entering a particular platform in the artificial reef program under the National Fishing Enhancement Act of 1984, and (2) initiate discussions with applicable states regarding potential artificial reef sites. Allows a lessee to provide for reefing in place under the artificial reef program. Permits states with a state rig-to-reef program to enter agreements with any appropriate entities to assume liability in federal water for a structure covered by the state program. Establishes a Reef Maintenance Fund. Requires the owner of a rig enrolled in the artificial reef program to: (1) maintain a rig anode system; and (2) pay into the Fund 50% of the estimated platform removal costs for which the owner would have been responsible if it had not participated in the program.

Read Twice And Referred To The Committee On Energy And Natural Resources.
January 23rd 2013 @ 12:00 AM

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