Vitter tells Interior to ‘back off’ on oil rig

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) called on the Obama administration to leave a sunken oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.

“The development of marine reefs with significant biodiversity is an unintended benefit of many of the idle rigs remaining in the Gulf of Mexico,” Vitter said. “The Administration should back off and allow it to prosper.”

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In a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell sent Monday, Vitter said the rig is acting as an artificial reef that has benefited the ecosystem.

“Artificial reefs are becoming an indispensable resource for our Gulf fisheries,” Vitter wrote. “While this particular site has yet to obtain official status as an artificial reef site, the ecosystem that it has created and supported around it is already playing an important role in growing and sustaining our Gulf fisheries.

Currently, the administration is expected to remove the Ewing Banks 947A structure, despite Louisiana requesting an exemption.

“While the inadvertent toppling of the structure is regrettable, one positive outcome has been the increase in marine life that has begun using it as a habitat,” the letter stated.

The structure was toppled during Hurricane Ike in 2008.

Vitter demanded that Jewell answer questions surrounding the rejection of his home state’s request for an exemption by Sept. 25.

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