UofSC Faculty Experts: BP Oil Spill 5 years later

April 20 marks five years since a compromised BP well spewed 3.1 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Several University of South Carolina faculty can discuss the impacts – environmental, business and legal – of the spill.  To coordinate an interview, contact the university media relations contact listed with each entry.


Legal dimensions

Law professor Josh Eagle specializes in environmental and coastal law. He testified before Congress and the White House Ocean Policy Task Force on legal issues related to ocean zoning and the siting of offshore energy facilities. He currently serves on the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council committee created by Congress to study the environmental and economic impacts of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Eagle can discuss legal issues related to the BP oil spill, particularly on the valuation of national resource damage. Contact: Peggy Binette, peggy@mailbox.sc.edu; 803-777-7704

Law professor Nathan Richardson is an expert in environmental and energy law. He conducted research related to the spill, focusing on the liability scheme for oil spills and the industry’s ability (or lack thereof) to contain spills.  He is well versed on regulatory developments since the BP oil spill, which he says are few. Contact: Peggy Binette, peggy@mailbox.sc.edu; 803-777-7704



Julian Dalzell, a lecturer and specialist in human resources at the Darla Moore School of Business, worked for Shell for 43 years in the United Kingdom, Asia and the United States. He was vice president of human resources for Shell Oil Company, based in Houston, at the time of the 2010 BP Oil Spill. Dalzell says the BP spill had far-reaching consequences for both the company and industry. Failures in practices and equipment led to industry-wide changes to address the issues systemically, which he can discuss. Contact: Peggy Binette, peggy@mailbox.sc.edu; 803-777-7704



James Morris is director of the Belle W. Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences at the University of South Carolina. Morris was a member of the special National Research Council committee tasked by Congress to assess the methods used to measure environmental damage to the Gulf related to the spill. Morris made headlines in 2012 with his conclusion that while the Gulf had not yet fully recovered, the long-lasting environmental catastrophe predicted by some experts never occurred. Morris is available to discuss what the oil spill tells us about the ecosystem of the ocean and its surprising resiliency.  Contact, Jeff Stensland, stensland@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-3686.

Jamie Lead, professor at the Arnold School of Health and SmartState Endowed Chair for the Center for Environmental NanoScience and Risk (CENR), and his team have developed a method for removing oil from oil-water mixtures inexpensively and more easily than currently exists. While still in the testing phase, Lead says his process uses nanomaterials to separate oil from the water in less than one hour, in a safe, non-toxic manner. Further testing will involve moving from the laboratory to use in the environment. Lead is available to discuss the CENR team’s research and how this technology could change the way that future oil spills are cleaned. To arrange an interview, contact April Blake, ablake@mailbox.sc.edu or 803-777-5984.

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