Assemblyman Pedro Nava, the California Legislature’s representative on the Ocean Protection Council, has announced his opposition to a proposal that would use state funds to pay for a study examining oil rig decommissioning alternatives.

On Friday, the OPC will consider a proposal to allocate $210,000 in state funds for a study examining decommissioning alternatives for offshore oil rigs.

“Given the fact that they have made billions of dollars in California’s coastal waters, I think oil companies can afford to pay the entire cost of the study to the Ocean Science Trust,” Nava said.

Current oil lease agreements require offshore oil operators to remove all oil production facilities from the ocean floor to the platform. The process is expensive with costs ranging from tens of millions of dollars to more than $1 billion.

Oil companies in recent years have argued that the decommissioned rigs act as artificial reefs that constitute new, ecologically beneficial habitat for fish and other ocean species. Oil companies in the Gulf of Mexico and on California’s coast have been strong advocates of “rigs to reefs” as a decommissioning alternative because it results in savings of large sums of money.

Nava sent letters to the members of the OPC voicing his opposition to the proposal.

John Mann is a spokesman for Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara.