Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

The BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill was the largest oil spill in US history, leaking approximately five million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico – the equivalent of 20 Exxon Valdez oil spills.

The BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill was the largest oil spill in US history, leaking approximately five million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico – the equivalent of 20 Exxon Valdez oil spills.

The economic and ecologic impacts of the spill will likely continue for decades. The national scientific response to the spill failed to provide accurate and timely information about the size of the spill, location of the oil and the ecological and human health threats from the oil and dispersants.

Our challenge remains to fully engage our national assets, including those in the academic community. We therefore recommend the following actions:

  • Ensure that the federally initiated Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration effort is guided and supported by the highest quality peer reviewed and coordinated science;
  • Establish an endowment to fund a robust Gulf of Mexico observing system and science initiative to support restoration efforts, better manage ocean assets and uses and identify and forecast the impacts of future hazards in the Gulf such as hurricanes, oil spills, dead zones and harmful algal blooms;
  • and Support a long-term national science plan to advance knowledge about the fate and effects of oil in the marine environment and develop baseline information to better respond to future spills.

Ocean Leadership Activities

Oil Spill Response

Oil Spill Restoration