Fifty miles southeast of Grand Isle, La., sits the Lena, which used to be an oil rig owned by ExxonMobil. After the site stopped producing oil, the company hauled away the above-water platform and in July finished the job by disconnecting the structure from the sea floor and toppling it over. Now it’s an artificial reef.
In the U.S., it’s the law: As an offshore oil well drips out its last barrels, producers must prepare to seal it and dismantle the rig and restore the ocean floor to its original condition. Left to stand, the rig may pose risks during hurricanes, prevent future oil exploration, or in some places stand in the way of wind-power development.
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