THE GULF COAST POPULATION IMPACT STUDY
Considered the largest accident in the history of petroleum industry, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill released 4.1 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico over a period of 87 days. Years after BP capped the Macondo Well in July 2010, Gulf Coast communities are still grappling with the economic, environmental, and social impacts of this disaster and a slow, torturous recovery.
Moving quickly to track the disaster’s effects on Gulf Coast communities, especially the region’s children, our team established the Gulf Coast Population Impact Project (GCPI) within weeks of the explosion on the drilling platform. Read about all the work we have done below.
The Gulf Coast Population Impact study was focused on understanding the long-term impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on children in the Gulf Coast region. This project was divided into four phases, ending with the creation of a project based learning program, Shoreline.
In the weeks following the April 2010 explosion, our team, in conjunction with the National Center for Disaster Preparedness and the Children’s Health Fund, convened town hall meetings and focus groups in Louisiana and Mississippi, where parents shared their deep concerns that the oil spill would have long-term negative health effects on their children.
Between April and October 2012, a household survey and a community engage effort were conducted. The methodology used to interview participants was as follows:
Survey Parents: We randomly selected household in fifteen “hard-hit” communities. These communities were selected as having high rates of BP compensation claims and evidence of oil washing up on their shores.
Engaging Communities: In October 2012 we traveled to four communities where parents had expressed the greatest concerns about their children’s health: 2 in Louisiana, 1 in Mississippi, and 1 in Alabama. We spoke with 150 community leaders, health providers and administrators, school officials, grassroots advocates, service providers, and parents in small-group meetings.