Three Meta-Lessons Government and Industry Should Learn from the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster and Why They Won't
38 B.C. Envtl. Aff. L. Rev. 281-303 (2011)
23 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2015
Date Written: 2011
There are many law and policy lessons to be learned from the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and its aftermath. Some are lessons specific to the BP oil well blowout. Regrettably, Congress has failed to enact even these critical reforms, although some important regulatory reforms have been adopted. This Article focuses on three broader lessons that this disaster should also teach, but that are very unlikely to be learned; lessons that could help to reduce the risk of future disasters. These meta-lessons suggest the need to: (1) learn from the next disaster-not the last one; (2) learn from the blueprint of the disaster; and (3) learn from the context of the disaster. However, both the limited scope of the reforms undertaken in the year since the disaster and the blueprint of the disaster highlight why government and industry are unlikely to learn these broader lessons.
Keywords: disasters, oil spills, BP oil, regulatory reforms, Deepwater Horizon, Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA), Bureau of OCean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE), policymaking, offshore drilling
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