Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: Applause For President Obama’s Independent Commission to Investigate BP
Press Statement

STATEMENT: Applause For President Obama’s Independent Commission to Investigate BP

Washington, D.C. – "President Obama’s creation of the ‘National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling’ is essential to understanding the causes behind, and responsibility for, this human, economic and ecological tragedy.

"BP, Transocean, Halliburton and relevant federal agencies must be held accountable for missteps and errors that contributed to this disaster. The Commission’s findings and recommendations will enable the federal government to establish safeguards to prevent future catastrophes.

"As co-chairs of the Commission, former Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) and former EPA Administrator William Reilly bring a lifetime of experience and knowledge about energy production and environmental protection. Senator Graham and Administrator Reilly will be the ‘CSI Team’ of the BP oil disaster.

"We are confident that they will conduct an independent, comprehensive, science based, and transparent investigation. The recommendations from this assessment are critical to safer deepwater oil and gas production.

"The Three Mile Island and Challenger Space Shuttle Commissions included scientists, former government officials, and leaders from the areospace industry (Challenger). We hope that the BP oil disaster commission includes a leading biologist, petroleum engineer, oil or gas producer, environmentalist, labor leader, local official, and an affected citizen.

"To ensure the most complete assessment and recommendations, this investigation should include:

  • A technical assessment of the explosion, blow out, and oil flow
  • An estimate of the quantity of oil released into the Gulf of Mexico
  • An analysis of the roles of BP, Transocean, and Halliburton in this event
  • An assessment of the emergency preparedness of these three companies, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Interior, and the Department of Homeland Security
  • An appraisal of what agency should coordinate future emergency responses
  • A review of occupational safety measures on the rig
  • A preliminary analysis of the public health, economic, and ecologic impacts of the blowout
  • An assessment of the public’s right to know about the accident and its aftermath, and BP’s, Transocean’s, and Halliburton’s responsibility to provide accurate, comprehensible, and timely information
  • A review of the technologies and safeguards employed by other nations to prevent similar disasters at their deepwater wells

"We trust that Senator Graham and Administrator Reilly will attempt to address this critical issues.

"The BP oil disaster is a stark reminder of the human, economic and ecological costs of our oil dependence. We will continue to work with the Obama Administration and Congress to adopt policies that permanently reduce our oil dependence, which will save families money and enhance our national security."