Type of Document Master's Thesis Author Arceneaux, Kelly URN etd-07082013-120110 Title An Analysis of Change in Policy Context Regarding COREXIT Dispersant Use Following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Degree Master of Science (M.S.) Department Environmental Sciences Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Wascom, Michael Committee Chair Reams, Margaret Committee Member Walsh, Maud Committee Member Keywords
- multiple streams
- Deepwater Horizon
Date of Defense 2012-10-29 Availability unrestricted AbstractOn April 20, 2010, an explosion on the offshore drilling platform Deepwater Horizon located in
the Gulf of Mexico resulted in the largest oil spill in U.S. history. The subsequent use of
massive amounts of chemical dispersants near the Gulf floor, an untested method, led to great
controversy regarding the regulation, use, and toxicity of dispersants of the COREXIT family of
products, as well as of dispersants in general.
This study compares dispersant (COREXIT brand products in particular) regulation and use in
the United States, Norway and the United Kingdom; the latter two countries are among the
largest oil producers in the European Union. This study also applies Kingdon’s conceptual
model of public policy development as a convergence of three independent “streams” in an
attempt to gauge the outlook for increased regulation in the United States regarding COREXIT
dispersants based on patterns of federal research funding, possible policy tool options, the
existence of political will, and the perspective of the dispersant industry. The study found that
with the exception of toxicity testing and approval mechanisms, the United States, Norway and
the United Kingdom differ little in dispersant regulation and use. When research funding was
examined, it was found that while initial funding levels increased, this may not be sustainable in
the long term and therefore not a reliable indicator of the likelihood of policy change in the U.S.
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