The UH oil spill symposium features discussions involving professors, students and guests with backgrounds in history, resource management, science, policy, law and the oil industry. Event coordinator Joseph Pratt has been writing a book about government and industry reactions to the Exxon Valdez oil spill.
"And those kinds of questions are useful, I think, to us all right now. I think there's an awful lot of concern about the implications of a spill this size, not just environmental but management, public policy. And I think it really will help now that the spill is capped and there's not oil coming out anymore to talk about this event as something that fits in a long-term series of events and also shapes our future."
Pratt says several oil men are attending, although it's hard to know if government and industry will pay attention to issues brought up in symposiums such as this.
"I do think over time, the lawyers and the managers will listen. And I think there's a serious need to know about long-term responses. If there is an overriding focus of the program, it is 'why haven't we learned more from the big spills in the past?' and 'can we now at least look for lessons that'll help us decide what to do now?'"
Participants include Tyler Priest, recently named a senior analyst to the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, as well as Greg Pollock, the deputy commissioner of the Texas Oil Spill Prevention and Response Program. The free event is at the UH Hilton.
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