Oil spill powwow at UGA


Leading experts in science and media will gather at the University of Georgia over the next three days to discuss how scientists, government leaders, oil industry representatives and journalists presented information to the public and each other during the oil spill that spewed millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico.

Professors, writers and government representatives will end the symposium Thursday by coming up with recommendations to improve communications with the public and among their respective industries during another environmental disaster.

Participants also will assess the balance between scientists waiting for peer reviews on their studies and informing the public of nearby dangers, said Jill Gambill, director of communications for UGA’s Georgia Sea Grant College Program.

Several hundred people, both from UGA and outside of Georgia, are expected to attend, Gambill said.

Wednesday’s panelists will include UGA marine scientist Samantha Joye, who was the first person to identify the spill’s deepwater plumes, and New York Times reporter Justin Gillis, who covered the spill and is a UGA alum.

UGA alum Ray Jakubczak also will discuss his job during the oil spill as a senior consultant for Cardno-Entrix, the company hired by BP to survey coral reefs.

The symposium is free, but people can register for a spot at oilspill.uga.edu, Gambill said.

Sylvia Earle, the National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, will start off the symposium today at 2 p.m. with a discussion about the world’s oceans at the UGA Chapel.

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
Cooper Law Firm

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