Skip to main content
Expand AU Menu

For the Media

National Oil Spill Commission Report: AU Experts Available to Comment

The National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, the organization established by President Obama to investigate the causes of the Gulf spill and how to prevent and handle future offshore drilling spills, will release its final report Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, January 11.  

American University faculty experts are available to provide commentary on the spill and related topics, including the ecological impact, environmental policies, and legal liabilities.

Each expert below has substantial experience with press interviews. To request an interview, contact AU’s Communications Office at 202-885-5950 or

Dan Jacobs, an executive in residence with American University’s Kogod School of Business, spent most of his career doing civil environmental enforcement work for the Department of Justice, including an oil spill case against BP. Jacobs, who has more than a decade of experience teaching higher education courses in environmental policy and law, teaches Business Strategies for Environmental Sustainability and Global Corporate Citizenship at AU. Jacobs has attended several of the National Oil Spill Commission's meetings and has lectured on the meetings and the commission's preliminary findings.

Daniel Fiorino, director of AU's Center for Environmental Policy, is an expert on environmental policy and politics, the executive branch, and the role of analysis and innovation in policy making. At the Environmental Protection Agency, he held a range of management and analytical positions, including director of the national environmental performance track, associate director of the Office of Policy Analysis, and senior advisor to the assistant administrator for policy and evaluation.

Stephen MacAvoy, an assistant professor of environmental science, can address clean-up efforts and why surface spills and deep leaks present different problems and require different approaches.  He can also discuss the immediate and long term ecological and biological impacts of spills and leaks as well as how the toxicity differs between spills and leaks.  He teaches two environmental science courses that include material focused on petroleum.

David Hunter, director of the Program on International and Comparative Environmental Law at AU’s Washington College of Law, can discuss general legal liability issues related to the spill under both common law and statutory provisions. Hunter is an expert in environmental law, international environmental law, climate change law and policy, multinational corporate responsibility, and sustainable development.   

William Snape, an environmental law fellow and practitioner in residence at AU’s Washington College of Law, can also discuss general legal liability issues related to the spill. Snape is senior counsel with the Center for Biological Diversity and has litigated both NEPA and global warming cases in federal court, including a 2008 case that rejected the federal government’s plan for oil and gas drilling off the coast of Alaska in part because of climate change concerns.       

Kiho Kim, chair of AU’s Department of Environmental Science, can discuss the general ecology and ecological impacts of the oil spill. Kim’s research focuses on understanding the role of diseases in coral population ecology and the synergistic effects of environmental factors, such as nutrient pollution and ocean warming, in the decline of coral reefs. He is a member of the Ocean Studies Board of the National Academies of Science, is an advisor to the Coral Disease Working Group of the World Bank, and is a councilor of the International Society for Reef Studies.

American University is a leader in global education, enrolling a diverse student body from throughout the United States and nearly 140 countries. Located in Washington, D.C., the university provides opportunities for academic excellence, public service, and internships in the nation’s capital and around the world.