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Environmental Historians Respond to Gulf Oil Spill

Several ASEH members have written op-ed pieces about the Gulf oil spill, providing historical analysis. A sample of their work appears below. ASEH members and environmental historians who would like their work posted on this page can send links to

From Brian Black, professor of history and environmental studies at Pennsylvania State University and author of Petrolia: The Landscape of America's First Oil Boom (Johns Hopkins, 2003):

“Gulf Spill Serves as Referendum on the High-Energy Existence,” History News Network

Online interview:

From Carolyn Merchant, University of California-Berkeley; click here to read her article from ASEH News (summer 2010).

From Tyler Priest, director of Global Studies in the C.T. Bauer College of Business, University of Houston, and author of The Offshore Imperative: Shell Oil’s Search for Petroleum in Postwar America (Texas A&M Press, 2007):

“Myths from the Right about the Disaster in the Gulf,” History News Network, Week of June 28, 2010.

“The Ties that Bind MMS and Big Oil,” op-ed, June 9, 2010,

“The Problem with Human Error,” New York Times Room for Debate Blog, “Rules, Revolving Doors, and the Oil Industry," May 5, 2010, industry/

Perspectives on the Gulf Oil Spill by energy historians: An H-energy roundtable:

Introduction, by Robert Lifset

"A Catastrophic Accident of Normal Proportions," by Peter Shulman, Case Western Reserve:

"Louisiana's Wetlands: A Battered and Bruised Landscape," by Jason Theriot, University of Houston:

"The Ties that Bind MMS and Big Oil," by Tyler Priest, University of Houston:
"Defining the Problem," by Christopher Jones, Harvard University:

Note: ASEH members currently serve on advisory boards and are participating in cleanup efforts in the Gulf; watch for articles in the fall issue of ASEH News in September 2010.

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