Rob Gilmer, August 30, 2010
Rob Gilmer is a Ph.D. candidate in the History Department at the University of Minnesota. In the fall of 2010, he will be teaching Oil and Water: The Gulf Oil Spill of 2010, a course which has garnered national attention. By exploring the history and ecology of oil drilling in the Gulf this course will raise questions about the economic, environmental, and social impact of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on communities throughout the Gulf region. If oil drilling is potentially so dangerous to the region, why do many local politicians and citizens demand that it continue? While the oil spill has wreaked havoc on the local fishing industry, can it survive without offshore drilling? What lessons can we learn from past spills about the environmental and economic impacts facing the Gulf region? Who is ultimately responsible for the spill, and who is liable for the costs associated with cleanup, restoration, and economic damages? Do laws such as the Oil Protection Act of 1990, which were intended to hold oil companies responsible for the effects of spills, actually empower them over the government when large-scale spills do occur?
See also: Gilmer’s 2011 interview on the Mississipi River flooding.