Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Sciences

Document Type



On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the offshore drilling platform Deepwater Horizon located in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in the largest oil spill in U.S. history. The subsequent use of massive amounts of chemical dispersants near the Gulf floor, an untested method, led to great controversy regarding the regulation, use, and toxicity of dispersants of the COREXIT family of products, as well as of dispersants in general. This study compares dispersant (COREXIT brand products in particular) regulation and use in the United States, Norway and the United Kingdom; the latter two countries are among the largest oil producers in the European Union. This study also applies Kingdon’s conceptual model of public policy development as a convergence of three independent “streams” in an attempt to gauge the outlook for increased regulation in the United States regarding COREXIT dispersants based on patterns of federal research funding, possible policy tool options, the existence of political will, and the perspective of the dispersant industry. The study found that with the exception of toxicity testing and approval mechanisms, the United States, Norway and the United Kingdom differ little in dispersant regulation and use. When research funding was examined, it was found that while initial funding levels increased, this may not be sustainable in the long term and therefore not a reliable indicator of the likelihood of policy change in the U.S.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Wascom, Michael