Faculty Spotlight

William Freudenburg, Dehlsen Professor of Environmental Studies
New Book Examines Gulf Oil Spill

William FreudenburgIn a new book, titled “Blowout in the Gulf — The BP Oil Spill Disaster and the Future of Energy in America” (The MIT Press, 2010), authors William Freudenburg, Dehlsen Professor of Environmental Studies at UC Santa Barbara, and Robert Gramling, professor of sociology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, examine the disaster itself, as well as the corporate decisions and governmental policies that led up to it

The book, a Publisher's Weekly Pick of the Week (10/21/2010), also takes a look at factors that made the Deepwater Horizon explosion and subsequent oil spill a disaster waiting to happen. "It has to do with an atrophy of vigilance," explained Freudenburg. "When things go according to plan time after time, we stop paying attention to the risks involved. We've had several years of safe operations in relatively shallow drilling offshore in U.S. waters. Each time a well goes in safely, there's a temptation to cut corners –– as BP did. Do it often enough, though, and eventually there's going to be a disaster."

Related Links:

» Call for review of US oil industry regulations (ABC News Australia)

» In Deep Water, UCSB Professor’s Book on Gulf Oil Spill Released by MIT Press (Santa Barabara Independent)

» UCSB oil expert says cutbacks, shortcuts led to disastrous BP oil spill (The Daily Sound)

» New Book by Environmental Studies Scholar Examines Gulf Oil Spill (UCSB Featured News)