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Gulf cleanup raises questions and challenges


A composite of NASA satellite imagery, prepared by Ana I. Prados of the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology (JCET) [http://jcet.umbc.edu/about/] for the U.S. Air Quality Smog Blog [http://alg.umbc.edu/usaq/], shows the extent of the Gulf oil spill on May 1, 2010. Prados used NASA MODIS (Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) Terra visible imagery. JCET is a partnership between the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC).

Chelsea Haddaway
Communications Manager:
Humanities and Social Sciences
(410) 455-6380

Anthony Lane
Communications Manager:
Science, Technology and Environment
(410) 455-5793

Though BP has halted the flow of oil from its Deepwater Horizons well into the Gulf of Mexico, questions about the spill’s long-term effects could take decades to fully answer. Several researchers at UMBC offer unique perspectives as the national conversation turns to this disaster’s political, regulatory and ecological impacts.

Tim Brennan, a professor in the Department of Public Policy, can talk about the regulatory impacts of the oil spill, drawing both on his research interests, and his experiences working as an economist for the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and the White House Council of Economic Advisers. He is currently assessing proposals for tighter regulations or new liability rules to determine who would pay the long-term costs and whether the outcomes would be desirable

Scott Farrow, chair of the Department of Economics, can give a historical perspective on offshore oil drilling. A former member of the Dept. of the Interior Scientific Advisory Committee for Offshore Leasing, Farrow is the author of the 1990 book “Managing the Outer Continental Shelf Lands,” which presents the issues, institutions and people associated with the energy and mineral resources of the outer continental shelf of the United States.

Tom Schaller, associate professor in the Department of Political Science, is an expert on the American presidency and national politics. He is interested in the ways that the spill and its aftermath potentially impact upcoming elections.

Kevin Sowers, a professor in the Department of Marine Biotechnology, is an expert on marine microbes and their role in bioremediation of ocean and coastal pollutants. He can talk about naturally occurring and artificially enhanced microbial process that remediate oils and other contaminants.

Yonathan Zohar, chair of the Department of Marine Biotechnology, has done groundbreaking research on fish reproductive physiology, endocrinology and marine hatchery technologies. He and his colleagues have developed a sustainable aquaculture system that allows marine fish species to be raised indoors without pollution. He can talk about the need for alternative sources of seafood given concerns about water quality and seafood safety that have heightened in the wake of the Gulf oil spill.

Posted: September 1, 2010, 12:00 PM