Controversial research shows fish thriving around California oil platforms

Controversy over 27 oil platforms off the California coast is making waves (ouch!). Delightfully monikered marine biologist Milton Love says the submerged portions of the platforms are serving as artificial reefs and valuable habitat for overfished species like rockfish and bocaccio (which we had previously thought was a kind of sausage). Oil companies love them some Love; they’ve seized on his research as a key reason why they shouldn’t have to remove the platforms once they stop pumping oil. Leaving them in place would save industry up to $1 billion. Many enviros hate the idea and insist, like our last boyfriend, that Love is not to be trusted. He gets about 20 percent of his research money from the industry-funded California Artificial Reef Enhancement Program. (Love: of money?) Love scoffs at the notion that his research is anything but many-splendored, and invites critics to come look at his underwater videos of fish packed around the platforms as tightly as “cocktail wieners in a can.” Love’s packed wieners have failed to impress enviros thus far; they hope his labor is lost.