Winter 2013 – Frequently Asked Questions by Dr. Chuck Wilson

(From Winter 2013 Newsletter) Dr. Chuck Wilson, Senior Scientist for the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI), answers a few of the most frequently asked questions about the program.

Question 1: What is GoMRI?

Answer: GoMRI is an independent research program established by BP in May 2010 to administer the company’s 10-year, $500 million commitment to research the effects of the Deepwater Horizon incident. The mission of the GoMRI is to improve society’s ability to understand and mitigate the impacts of hydrocarbon pollution and stressors on the marine environment, with an emphasis on conditions found in the Gulf of Mexico, through studying the effects of the Deepwater Horizon incident.

Question 2: Is GoMRI part of the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process?

Answer: No. GoMRI is completely separate from the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process, which is a legal process, conducted by federal and state trustees to determine injuries to or lost use of the public’s natural resources as a result of the oil spill. GoMRI is also separate from the $4 billion fine associated with the November 2012 criminal case settlement with BP; $350 million of the fine was committed to the National Academy of Sciences to establish a program on human health and environmental protection in the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, GoMRI is not associated with the RESTORE Act, which reinvests 80 percent of the Clean Water Act fines resulting from the spill back into the Gulf for restoration.

Question 3: Who makes the funding decisions?

Answer: The GoMRI funding decisions are made by a Research Board, an independent and academic board composed of 20 science, public health, and administration experts. Ten of the members are appointed by BP and 10 are appointed by the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GOMA). The Research Board considers peer reviews, conducted using the National Science Board peer evaluation protocols, to ensure the intellectual quality, effectiveness, and academic independence of all GoMRI research. The members of the Research Board can be found on the GoMRI website.

[Back to the Winter 2013 Newsletter]