- 07.11.13 09:59 AM EDT
This abandoned rig, miles off the Louisiana coast, hasn't produced oil for decades, but it has become an unlikely haven for aquatic life, a man-made coral reef of sorts that's become home to thousands of fish. Now, scientists and regulators are debating whether it should be removed - as the law requires - or if marine life is better served by leaving the rig, and protecting it.
This same phenomenon has happened with abandoned rigs all over the ocean. Federal law requires that the rig, owned by Black Elk Energy, be removed, which would cost about $3 million. Now, some are arguing that money would be better spent establishing a trust to protect the reef.