Multidimensional Governance and the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
Hari M. Osofsky
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - School of Law
February 12, 2011
Florida Law Review, Vol. 63, 2011
Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper 11-17
This Article explores the governance challenges posed by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and proposes strategies for developing more inclusive, responsive institutions to help meet them. It begins by analyzing the incident through five core dimensions - vertical, horizontal, direction of hierarchy, cooperativeness, and public-private - to demonstrate the multi-level, multi-actor interactions taking place in offshore drilling and oil spill regulation. It then explains the ways in which the complex interactions in these dimensions translate into four core governance challenges: scientific and legal uncertainty, simultaneous overlap and fragmentation, the difficulties of balancing efficiency and inclusion, and inequality and resulting injustice. The Article next integrates eight different conceptual approaches to propose three core strategies for better multidimensional governance - hybridity, multiscalar inclusion, and responsiveness - and evaluates reform proposals made in the aftermath of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in light of them. It considers how citizens’ councils, regulatory burden-shifting, voluntary industry-based regulatory institutions, and independent scientific and technical review bodies could complement efforts to make the federal process more rigorous and adaptive. The Article concludes by discussing the broader applicability of its analysis of multidimensional governance challenges.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 62
Keywords: BP, Oil Spill, Governance, Environment, Offshore Drilling, New Governance, Federalism, Adaptive Management, Pluralism, New Haven School, Regulation, Intersystemic Governance, ComplexityAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: February 13, 2011 ; Last revised: July 24, 2011
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