SEGS Research: Disaster Management


  • Successful disaster management involves preparedness before the disaster strikes in a manner that balances internal accountability with government oversight. SEGS lab researchers examine these issues in cases including the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and agricultural resilience under climate change uncertainty.

  • Publications

  • The Challenge of Accountability in Complex Regulatory Networks: The Case of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Regulation & Governance.

    Mills, R. and Koliba, C.

    2014. Regulation & Governance (2015) 9, 77–91.

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    A puzzle that faces public administrators within regulatory governance networks is how to balance the need for democratic accountability while increasingly facing demands from elected officials to optimize over- sight of industry by utilizing the expertise of the private sector in developing risk-based standards for compliance. The shift from traditional command and control oversight to process oriented regulatory regimes has been most pronounced in highly complex industries, such as aviation and deepwater oil drilling, where the intricate and technical nature of operations necessitates risk-based regulatory networks based largely on voluntary compliance with mutually agreed upon standards. The question addressed in this paper is how the shift to process oriented regimes affects the trade-offs between democratic, market, and administrative accountability frames, and what factors determine the dominant accountability frame within the network. Using post-incident document analysis, this paper provides a case study of regulatory oversight of the deepwater oil drilling industry prior to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico, to explore how the shift to a more networked risk-based regulatory regime affects the trade-offs and dominant accountability frames within the network. The results of this study indicate that a reliance on market-based accountability mechanisms, along with the lack of a fully implemented process- oriented regulatory regime, led to the largest oil spill in US history.
  • Vermont Agricultural Resilience in a Changing Climate: A Transdisciplinary and Participatory Action Research (PAR) Process.

    Schattman, R., Méndez, E., Westjik, K., Caswell, M., Conner, D., Koliba, C., Zia, A., Hurley, S., Adair, C., Berlin, L., and Darby, H.

    2014. Benkeblia, N. (Ed.) Agroecology, ecosystems and sustainability . Advances in Agroecology Series. CRC Press/Taylor and Francis.