School Director Testifies in BP Oil Spill Trial

BARA researcher and School of Anthropology Director Diane Austin testified Tuesday on the opening day of the third phase of the civil trial to establish environmental penalties BP must pay for the release of millions of barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico following the blowout of the Macondo well on April 20, 2010. Dr. Austin was retained by the U.S. Department of Justice to address the sociocultural effects of the disaster that took the lives of 11 men and injured 17 more and included the release of oil, cleanup efforts, investigations, a moratorium and suspension of deepwater drilling, and various claims processes and lawsuits. Her testimony relied on BARA research conducted between April 2010 and March 2012 by a research team co-led by Dr. Tom McGuire (Professor Emeritus, BARA) and including current School of Anthropology members Dr. Lauren Penney and Lindsey Feldman (graduate research assistant), as well as recent Anthropology graduates, Drs. Ben McMahan (CLIMAS, UA) and Victoria Phaneuf (Indiana University of Pennsylvania), and Dr. Brian Marks (PhD in Geography, with a minor in Anthropology, now at Louisiana State University), along with 14 other researchers, as well as the research conducted in the Gulf of Mexico region by dozens of BARA/School of Anthropology graduate students and researchers for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) since 1997. She was assisted in preparing for trial by Drs. McGuire and Penney. The start of the trial was covered by national and regional newspapers. Transcripts of the BP trial can be found here; the BARA researchers’ reports related to the oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico can be found on the BOEM website.

Published Date: 

01/28/2015 - 15:20

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