The offshore oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has brought oil-related energy, liability, and regulatory issues back to the forefront. RFF's strong legacy of research and public events on these topics can provide context for the ongoing situation and analysis of the policy implications.
In August 2010, the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling asked RFF to conduct several studies that would help inform the Commission’s investigations and recommendations.
Those concerned about energy security usually advocate increasing drilling in the United States. But some argue that a better policy for promoting energy security would be instead to conserve domestic oil reserves—to set aside certain deposits, such as in the Gulf of Mexico, for use in an emergency.
Sealing of the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico provides an opportune time to think about how ecosystems and coastal resources might be valued and how this information might be used to improve pollution and resource management policy.
One critical issue for litigation surrounding the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill is liability and damages for ecological harm caused by the disaster. In the latest issue of , RFF Senior Fellow James W. Boyd outlines current damage assessment practices under various federal statutes and their weaknesses, drawing on the lessons learned from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill and similar incidents.