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Mar Pollut Bull. 2013 Jun 15;71(1-2):20-2. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2013.03.016. Epub 2013 Apr 18.

Assessing the damage caused by Deepwater Horizon: not just another Exxon Valdez.

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Queensland University of Technology, GPO Box 2434, Brisbane, QLD 4001, Australia.


In light of the high stakes of the Deepwater Horizon civil trial and the important precedent-setting role that the case will have on the assessment of future marine disasters, the methodologies underpinning the calculations of damage on both sides will be subjected to considerable scrutiny. Despite the importance of the case, however, there seems to be a pronounced lack of convergence about it in the academic literature. Contributions from scientific journals frequently make comparisons to the Ixtoc I oil spill off the coast of Mexico in 1979; the legal literature, by stark contrast, seems to be much more focused on the Exxon Valdez spill that occurred off the shores of Alaska in 1989. This paper accordingly calls for a more thorough consideration of other analogs beyond the Exxon Valdez spill-most notably, the Ixtoc I incident-in arriving at an assessment of the damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

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