Graham discusses BP spill research, cleanup
The co-chairman of the National Commission on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, Bob Graham, says the BP oil spill was preventable during a speech Thursday night at Pugh Hall. Max Reed / Alligator Staff

The BP oil spill leak may have been capped, but the fight to reclaim the waters of the Gulf of Mexico is far from over.

Former U.S. Senator and Florida Gov. Bob Graham spoke to a crowd of more than 170 people at Pugh Hall on Thursday evening about his research on the largest oil spill in U.S. history and measures that could prevent a future disaster.

As co-chairman of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, Graham worked on a 380-page report that delved into the causes of the spill, its effects and potential solutions. Many members of Congress oppose measures that would involve the federal government in corporate oil interests, but Graham doesn’t see this as a purely private-industry issue.

The Gulf of Mexico belongs to all U.S. citizens, Graham said. Citizens are the landlords of those waters, and companies like BP are the tenants.

“You don’t want your tenant to be trashing your property,” he said.

UF sophomore Julia Slayden, an environmental engineering major, was surprised when Graham discussed how offshore oil drilling is still considered by many to be a viable option.

“We really need to focus on stopping the resurgence of interest in offshore drilling,” she said. “You would think [that would have ended] after the oil spill in April.”

The BP spill commission will complete its work in mid-March, but members may create a nonprofit organization to support further research and advocacy on the issue, Graham said in a later interview.