"We have a bad spill every 10 to 20 years that gets the world's attention," said Joe Pratt, a professor of history at UH.
The plans that come out of the spill are ignored until the next accident, then found to be inadequate.
"We don't need to repeat that cycle every time," Pratt said. "Complacency is the enemy."
Oil and Gas Pipeline Disasters Fail to Spur Bill Bolstering Oversight
"The rash of lapses in pipeline safety, a joint responsibility of federal and state regulators, has prompted green groups to cast a critical eye on PHMSA chief Cynthia Quarterman, who represented Enbridge during a stint in the private sector and led the beleaguered Minerals Management Service (MMS) during the 1990s.
Yet the biggest potential parallel between PHMSA and MMS appears to predate Quarterman's service: a pattern of looking to pipeline operators for advice."
Oil lingering in waters off Alabama, Mississippi and Florida beaches
"In some areas, the team has documented large mats of tar.
"The tar mats vary greatly. The biggest mat we found was about (150 feet by 210 feet). That was in Pensacola Bay."