Title page for ETD etd-07082013-120110

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
  • multiple streams
  • Kingdon
  • policy
  • Deepwater Horizon
  • dispersant
Date of Defense 2012-10-29
Availability unrestricted
On 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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