The Department of Interior's Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement has approved Texas Parks and Wildlife's Artificial Reef Plan to designate two reefing zones in the Gulf of Mexico. This allows for an easier approval process in getting decommissioned oil and gas rigs designated as artificial reefs, including a reef in place option. Congressman Blake Farenthold (TX-27) had the following comments on DOI approval of reefing zones:
"This announcement is welcome news for Texas fishermen, recreational divers and environmental groups concerned with saving the ecosystems around oil and gas platforms in the Gulf. However, the Department of Interior still has a long way to go towards protecting these artificial habitats, and their next step should be a moratorium on rig removal until all sides can agree on a common sense plan for their protection. I will continue to fight with recreational users, environmental and industry groups, Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Hart Research Institute to save these valuable habitats."