Oil spill money turning into Gulf artificial reef bonanza

In this April 2010 file photo, oil can be seen in the Gulf of Mexico, more than 50 miles southeast of Venice on Louisiana's tip, as a large plume of smoke rises from fires on BP's Deepwater Horizon. Image AP.
In this April 2010 file photo, oil can be seen in the Gulf of Mexico, more than 50 miles southeast of Venice on Louisiana's tip, as a large plume of smoke rises from fires on BP's Deepwater Horizon. Image AP.

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) – A bonanza of artificial reefs is coming to Gulf of Mexico waters near Panama City because of an infusion of oil spill money.

Bay County officials say more than $2.3 million from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill is being used to pay for the reefs.

The Panama City News Herald reports the reefs will be installed within state waters up to 9 miles offshore from Mexico Beach to the west. Officials expect it will take about three years for all the reefs to be put in place.

Officials say they will boost the area’s ecotourism and also bring in more anglers and divers.

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