A biological and geological reconnaissance of selected topographical features on the Texas continental shelf: a final report to the US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, Outer Continental Shelf Office, New Orleans, Louisiana
Texas A&M Research Foundation
Texas A&M University Dept of Oceanography
United States Bureau of Land Management
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During U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public hearings held in 1973, 1974 and 1975 prior to Texas Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) oil and gas lease sales, concern was expressed by the National Marine Fisheries Service, scientists from Texas A&M and the University of Texas and private citizens over the possible environmental impact of oil and gas drilling and production operations on coral reefs and fishing banks in or adjacent to lease blocks to be sold. As a result, certain restrictive regulations concerning drilling operations in the vicinity of the well documented coral reefs and biostromal communities at the East and West Flower Gardens were established by BLM, and Signal Oil Company was required to provide a biological and geological baseline study of the less well known Stetson Bank before a drilling permit could be issued. Considering the almost total lack of knowledge of the geology and biotic communities associated with the South Texas OCS banks lying in or near lease blocks to be offered for sale in 1975, BLM contracted with Texas A&M University to provide the biological and geological baseline information required to facilitate judgments as to the extent and nature of restrictive regulations on drilling near these banks which might be required to insure their protection. In pursuit of this, scientists from Texas A&M University were to direct their attention toward assessments of ground fish populations, unique biological and geological features, substratum type and distribution, and the biotic and geologic relationships between these banks and those farther north.