Oil spill money turning into Gulf artificial reef bonanza

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 (http://bit.ly/2fzzOrX ) 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.