In Deep Water - Weak Governance and the Gulf Oil Spill, a 30-Year Timeline

Conlon, L. and Zomer, A.
Publication language
Date published
01 Feb 2011
Research, reports and studies
Disasters, Environment & climate, National & regional actors

The Deepwater Horizon Blowout last April in the Gulf of Mexico is the largest oil spill in U.S. history. It will be many years before we know the full extent of the disaster in terms of its impact on the environment and the economy.
Regardless of the final damage tally, the system put in place to avoid these types
of disasters has proven inadequate. This is evident from the investigations and recommendations of the National Oil Spill Commission, established by President Obama, whose report was published on January 11, 2011. It was also implicit in the immediate response by the federal government to restructure and rename the agency responsible for regulating the oil and gas industry – formerly the Minerals Management Service, now the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.
How did we reach this point? As a new timeline of events from WRI shows, the governance problems that allowed the spill to happen began long before the blowout, and long before the Deepwater Horizon well was authorized.