Jump to Main Content
Public perceptions of the response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill: Personal experiences, information sources, and social context
- Safford, Thomas G., Ulrich, Jessica D., Hamilton, Lawrence C.
- Journal of environmental management 2012 v.113 pp. 31-39
- attitudes and opinions, disasters, energy, industry, information sources, oil spills, petroleum, social impact, sociologists, surveys, television, Florida, Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana
- The 2010 British Petroleum (BP) Deepwater Horizon oil spill highlighted long-standing questions about energy exploration and its social and environmental implications. Sociologists studying environmental disasters have documented the social impacts resulting from these events and dissatisfaction with government and industry responses. In this paper, we use data from a survey conducted during the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to examine how Louisiana and Florida residents' social backgrounds, experiences with the spill, and trust in information sources predict their perceptions of governmental and BP response efforts. We find that direct personal impacts and compensation strongly influence the evaluations of responding organizations. Age and place of residence also predict such assessments. Finally, levels of confidence in television news and BP as sources of information appear to shape Gulf Coast residents' opinions about the work of organizations responding to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.