In partnership with the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, The Story Collider will present five true, personal stories from the scientists and locals who experienced the effects of oil spills firsthand. Register to attend this event for free below.
Elva Escobar-Briones is director of Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y Limnología at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and previously served as professor and Head of Department Ocean and Coastal Systems ICML, UNAM-CU.
John W. Farrington is Dean Emeritus at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). John’s research includes organic chemical pollutant movement through the marine environment. For forty-five years he has studied chronic inputs of oil and oil spills. This included a research cruise to the large 1979 Ixtoc I oil spill off Mexico. John has been involved with U. S. National Academies’ Committees assessing oil pollution in the marine environment, testified before the U. S. Congress, and published many scientific papers on the subject of oil pollution. He is a Member of the Research Board of the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.
Charlie Henry is the Director for NOAA’s new Gulf of Mexico Disaster Response Center (DRC). Prior to his current position, Henry served as the NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator (SSC) for the Lower Mississippi River and the Western Gulf of Mexico. As a Scientific Support Coordinator, Henry was responsible for managing scientific issues that arose during emergency events and providing direct technical expertise and consultation to the lead Federal On-Scene Commander (FOSC) and managing scientific support teams deployed to such incidents. Henry has thirty years of environmental assessment and spill response experience beginning with the 1985 Arco Anchorage incident near Anacortes, Washington. The first thirteen of those years were at Louisiana State University as a Research Associate providing chemistry support during emergency events and research on the fate of environmental pollution in marine and coastal environments. Henry has responded to more than 200 hundred oil and chemical spill events including the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, the 1991 Kuwait Oil Fires, the 2000 Tanker Jessica Oil Spill in the Galapagos Islands off Ecuador, the hundreds of oil and chemical spills in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Northern Gulf of Mexico Coast in 2005, and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. During the Deepwater Horizon Oil incident, Henry was the first NOAA employee to respond just a few hours after the initial explosion and served as the lead NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator to the Unified Area Command. Henry also serves as the DOC/NOAA trustee representative to Regional Response Team VI for oil and hazardous material incidents.
Estelle Robichaux, a native Louisianian, is a senior restoration project analyst at Environmental Defense Fund. A broadly-trained scientist with a passion for wetlands conservation and restoration, Estelle has a background in natural and social sciences as well as extensive experience in science education. Her field and research background spans wetlands, marine environments and wildlife, from Costa Rica to South Africa to South Caicos. Estelle advocates for the implementation of science-based restoration projects and leads project-related efforts for Restore the Mississippi River Delta. Estelle also works on science communication and tracking the development of scientific and research programs in the wake of the Gulf oil disaster.