The U.S. Department of Justice announced a $4 billion settlement between the federal government and BP Exploration and Production, Inc. concerning the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. The Department of Justice also announced a second legal settlement where Transocean Deepwater Inc., the operator of the drilling platform, has agreed to pay $1.4 billion in civil and criminal fines to the federal government. As part of the settlement, NAS has been asked by the department to establish a new $350 million, 30-year program on human health and environmental protection in the Gulf of Mexico. The program will be conducted in partnership with the NAE, IOM, and NRC.
The Transocean and BP agreements both recognize that the Gulf program will be conducted solely at our direction, based on scientific merit and integrity with emphasis on freedom of inquiry and independent, nonpartisan advice and recommendations. This collection is comprised of titles that address issues and provide recommendations surrounding the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Since the early 1970s, experts have recognized that petroleum pollutants were being discharged in marine waters worldwide, from oil spills, vessel operations, and land-based sources. Public attention to oil spills has forced improvements. Still, a considerable amount of oil is discharged yearly into sensitive coastal environments. Oil in the Sea provides the best available estimate of oil pollutant discharge into marine waters, including an evaluation of the methods for assessing ...[more]
As the Gulf of Mexico recovers from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, natural resource managers face the challenge of understanding the impacts of the spill and setting priorities for restoration work. The full value of losses resulting from the spill cannot be captured, however, without consideration of changes in ecosystem services--the benefits delivered to society through natural processes. An Ecosystem Services Approach to Assessing the Impacts of the Deepwater ...[more]
The blowout of the Macondo well on April 20, 2010, led to enormous consequences for the individuals involved in the drilling operations, and for their families. Eleven workers on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig lost their lives and 16 others were seriously injured. There were also enormous consequences for the companies involved in the drilling operations, to the Gulf of Mexico environment, and to the economy of the region and ...[more]
On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon platform drilling the Macondo well in Mississippi Canyon Block 252 (DWH) exploded, killing 11 workers and injuring another 17. The DWH oil spill resulted in nearly 5 million barrels (approximately 200 million gallons) of crude oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico (GoM). The full impacts of the spill on the GoM and the people who live and work there are unknown but ...[more]
From the origin of the leak, to the amount of oil released into the environment, to the spill's duration, the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill poses unique challenges to human health. The risks associated with extensive, prolonged use of dispersants, with oil fumes, and with particulate matter from controlled burns are also uncertain. There have been concerns about the extent to which hazards, such as physical and chemical ...[more]
The National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council have released the interim report of the Committee on the Analysis of Causes of the Deepwater Horizon Explosion, Fire, and Oil Spill to Identify Measures to Prevent Similar Accidents in the Future. The interim report includes the committee's preliminary findings and observations on various actions and decisions including well design, cementing operations, well monitoring, and well control actions. The interim ...[more]
It is as yet uncertain how the Gulf of Mexico oil spill will affect the health of clean-up workers and volunteers, residents, and visitors in the Gulf. The IOM recommends that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services focus on researching psychological and behavioral health, exposure information to oil and dispersants, seafood safety, communication methods for health studies, and methods for conducting research in order to better understand and ...[more]
TRB Special Report 309: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Offshore Safety and Environmental Management Systems recommends that the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) take a holistic approach to evaluating the effectiveness offshore oil and gas industry operators' Safety and Environmental Management Systems (SEMS) programs. According to the report, this approach should, at a minimum, include inspections, audits by the operator and BSEE, key performance indicators, and a whistleblower program. ...[more]
Although significant steps have been taken over the last 15 years to reduce the size and frequency of oil spills, the sheer volume of petroleum consumed in the United States and the complex production and distribution network required to meet the demand make spills of oil and other petroleum products inevitable. Approximately 3 million gallons of oil or refined petroleum products are spilled into U.S. waters every year. ...[more]