[UF LAW eNews - a publication of the Levin College of Law @ the University of Florida]

Home | Print article | Contact eNews

CGR receives grant for oil spill research

Scott Makar

The UF Center for Governmental Responsibility was awarded a grant from the McIntosh Foundation to continue research related to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Special to eNews

The McIntosh Foundation has awarded a grant to the University of Florida Levin College of Law Center for Governmental Responsibility (CGR) to continue ongoing legal and public policy research related to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. Grant funds will be used to develop reports for use by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force, which was appointed by President Barack Obama to develop a plan by October for restoring the region damaged by the BP spill. The Task Force is staffed by Executive Director John Hankinson (JD 79), who has served on CGR's Board of Advisors.

"We are fortunate to have opportunities for our faculty and students to research this vital issue, providing needed assistance to the decision-makers who are trying to improve our nation's response to these types of disasters and to bring back the natural resources and economy of our Gulf Coast," said CGR Director and Dean Emeritus Jon Mills, who met with Task Force staff in Washington earlier this year.

The McIntosh award is the second grant CGR has received to study issues related to response, recovery, and restoration from the oil spill. Michael McIntosh provided the first grant to establish CGR more than 35 years ago.

In November, Ocean Therapy Solutions, Inc., a company affiliated with the actor Kevin Costner, contracted with CGR for research on the legal foundations of response to the oil spill. Costner has been active in efforts to improve the response process from oil spills.

Beginning last summer, CGR coordinated a group of law faculty and student volunteers, which researched general liability issues under federal law and state laws in the Gulf Coast region. It monitored the proposed state law changes circulating at the time. The research assistants reported their findings at a law school symposium in October, at which the faculty members of the UF Law Oil Spill Working Group served as respondents and commentators.

UF law students involved in the projects are Alyssa Cameron, James Davies, Carli Koshal, Austin Moretz, Fay Pappas, and Jesse Reiblich. The UF law Oil Sill Working Group includes Mills, Alyson Flournoy, Mary Jane Angelo, Richard Hamann, Tim McLendon, Joan Flocks, and JoAnn Klein.

Starting in the fall, CGR's group worked on the Ocean Therapy contract, researching the response requirements to oil spills imposed by federal and state law on petroleum producers and transporters, as well as the infrastructure established by state and federal law to guide and manage this response. The project concluded with an examination of the legal status and legal process for the use of chemical dispersants and burn agents in responding to an oil spill.

The current project is examining issues regarding the authority and funding for restoration and reviewing socio-economic data that will be used in developing Gulf Coast restoration plans.