Slippery Like Oil: Presidential Power and Disaster Decision Making

Mon. 4:00-5:30 p.m., Interlocken B

This year's oil spill-related maneuvering by President Obama, BP, the Coast Guard, the affected states, and a host of other governments, entities, groups, and individuals has raised the bar on questions about what U.S. presidents can and should do in disasters. Research already suggests that a variety of factors affect presidential disaster declarations, such as whether a disaster takes place in an election year or receives widespread media coverage. Considering the Deepwater Horizon case, what are the actual limits on the president's disaster authority and when—if ever—is he required to act? What are the practical benefits and drawbacks of various presidential actions that might be taken in response to this disaster? What should Obama have done?

Moderator Duane Gill, Moderator
Oklahoma State University


Richard Salkowe Richard Salkowe, Panelist
University of South Florida


Lisa SunLisa Sun, Panelist
Brigham Young University Law School


Louise Comfort Louise Comfort, Panelist
University of Pittsburgh Center for Disaster Management