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On April 21, 2022, Orange County Coastkeeper hosted Retiring Offshore Rigs: A Decommissioning Workshop to Clear the Horizon.

This hybrid event focused on reigniting the conversation around responsibly ending California’s offshore oil operations. The event was held at the historic Balboa Pavilion in Newport Beach with a free online livestream option as well.

In total, twenty different speakers offered their expertise and opinions on offshore oil in California. The panelists included marine biology professors, elected officials, decommissioning consultants, oversight agency representatives, oil industry executives, environmental advocates, and more.

To view the full recording of the entire event, broken down by segment, click below.

What’s Next?

The main goal of the event was to walk away with some actionable next steps and new understandings. With consideration of all the event panels, public input, and staff expertise, the team has put together ten key takeaways to influence future advocacy efforts in the fight to end offshore drilling in California.

  1. Decommissioning options in both state and federal waters must be streamlined and better communicated to both the public and platform leaseholders.
  2. While opinions on platform removal and reefing differ, Californians must unify in our call to end offshore oil production.
  3. Aside from environmental impacts, the economic benefit of California’s offshore production is low.
  4. New or modified legislation is required at the state and federal levels.
  5. Approaches to decommissioning must be collaborative and address perspectives from as many stakeholders as possible and their perspectives must be respected.
  6. Studies have suggested that, in some cases, offshore platforms serve as better habitat quality for the fish than natural reefs.
  7. The current record for offshore platform removal is 500 feet deep. California has platforms deeper than 1,000 feet.
  8. When the endangered western snowy plover is oiled, they typically do not lay eggs the following year. This leads to further population decrease for these endangered birds.
  9. Statewide leadership is required to continue the decommissioning conversation.
  10. Energy development through solar, wind, and wave energy are potential alternative uses for these structures.
Retiring Offshore Rigs will serve as a launching point for Coastkeeper’s future offshore oil advocacy efforts.

If you’d like to dive into this topic even deeper, we recommend you check out our pages on current decommissioning efforts, offshore platform location, and prior coastal oil spills in California.