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Coastal Oil Pollution, Spills, Crisis, and Policy Change
Review of Policy Research (2004)
  • Rick S Kurtz, Central Michigan University

The federal government’s adoption of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 represented a radical statutory departure from past policy. Coastal oil spill control provisions that had languished for decades within the industry friendly confines of a few select congressional subcommittees suddenly became law. Much popular belief credits the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill crisis for bringing about this radical policy change. Closer examination reveals that post-crisis policy change is much more complex. Crisis events intermingle with other short and long-term factors that either inhibit or support dramatic change. This study analyses change within the coastal spill arena over several decades. Particular attention is given to crisis episodes; periods identified with a major catastrophe or a successive series of attention getting spills over a brief time. Analysis finds that crises can play an instrumental role in eliciting change.

  • policy change,
  • Oil Pollution Act 1990,
  • marine pollution,
  • crisis management
Publication Date
Citation Information
Rick S Kurtz. "Coastal Oil Pollution, Spills, Crisis, and Policy Change" Review of Policy Research Vol. 21 Iss. 2 (2004)
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