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December 9, 2010

SSRL's Co-director publishes article about BP Oil Spill

Professor John W. Sutherlin, co-director of the Social Science Research Lab, has published an article titled "BP's Blow and DC's Debacle: Energy Policy-Making the Wrong Way," for the Louisiana Progress Journal.

The article details how the BP oil spill was not merely a technological disaster, but more of a bipartisan, governance structural failure. Further, Sutherlin asserts that when the federal government closed offshore drilling and created a permit "bottleneck" to slowdown drilling, it did so without considering the long-term economic and social costs to states like Louisiana and without having a system in place to address energy needs.

Sutherlin commented, "Unfortunately, policy making at the federal level is often made during a time of crisis, which is probably the worst moment to make long-term policy. There needs to be a significant change in the manner that energy policy is developed and implemented."

The article discusses some policy options that could reduce the environmental and economic costs of future oil spills and restructure governance response mechanisms.

"It is unlikely that we are going to wean ourselves off oil anytime soon," added Sutherlin, "So we had best find a way to reduce the chances of another BP-type spill again."

An online version of the article can be found at

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