BP and the Coast Guard should have been more prepared to deal with a deepwater oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The following summary of a year 2000 intentional deepwater oil spill research experiment undercuts the Coast Guard’s claims that the Deepwater Horizon spill is something that no one could have been prepared for.The following summary of the DeepSpill Joint Industry Projectan intentional deepwater oil spill experiment in 2000suggests that BP and the Coast Guard should have been more prepared to deal with the “unique challenges” of a deepwater spill. The funding of the study indicates that oil companies and the US government were thinking about the problem of deepwater spills over a decade ago. Why then have the Coast Guard, BP and Transocean seemed so unprepared in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon?”The array of strategies underscores the unusual nature of the leak. Pipelines have ruptured and tankers have leaked, but a well 5,000 feet below the water’s surface poses new challenges,” officials said.”This adds a new dimension for us,” Admiral Landry said. “We haven’t had a well release like this.”1The DeepSpill project was undertaken to test and improve existing deepwater spill models and was funded by 21 oil companies and the US government via the Minerals Management Service. While the DeepSpill test occurred at depths shallower than the Deepwater Horizon, oil companies and the US government would not have funded this experiment unless they were concerned about the need to understand deepwater spills. It therefore seems untenable for the Coast Guard to claim that the Deepwater Horizon spill “adds a new dimension for us.” Why then have the Coast Guard, BP and Transocean seemed so unprepared to respond to this spill?The full brief examinesKey observations from the DeepSpill project that should have been incorporated in plans to respond to a deepwater spill,Whether the plan to burn the oil at the surface of the Gulf is feasible given mixing of water and oil in the water column, andHow oil and gas development expansion in the Gulf has greatly complicated responding to spills.Read the full brief here .Nick Poggioli is GRN’s Campus Organizer1Robertson, C. and Kaufman, L. “Oil Spill May Threaten Wildlife Near Louisiana.” New York Times, April 28, 2010. Available at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/29/us/29spill.html.