Obama moves to take political control of BP Gulf oil spill
President Obama has named a bipartisan commission to investigate the causes of the BP Gulf oil spill, one of the nation's worst environmental disasters, including any government failures.
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In his radio address Saturday, Obama – whose administration moved quickly to address the conflicts of interest at the Minerals Management Service – acknowledged this.Skip to next paragraph
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“Even as we continue to hold BP accountable, we also need to hold Washington accountable,” he said. “If the laws on our books are inadequate to prevent such an oil spill or if we didn’t enforce those laws – I want to know it. I want to know what worked and what didn’t work in our response to the disaster, and where oversight of the oil and gas industry broke down. We know, for example, that a cozy relationship between oil and gas companies and agencies that regulate them has long been a source of concern.”
The seven-member “Bipartisan National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling” Obama announced Saturday is to report within six months. It is co-chaired by Democrat Bob Graham, former US senator and governor of Florida, and by Republican William Reilly, co-chair of the National Commission on Energy Policy and administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency under former president George H. W. Bush.
In the Republican response Saturday morning, Senator David Vitter (R) of Louisiana chided Democrats in Congress who he said “have rushed to create media events for television cameras instead of devoting full attention to stopping the immediate problem.”
“I guess it’s typical of the culture in Washington for politicians to believe that they can solve an ongoing crisis with statements and testimonies in Congressional committee rooms,” Vitter said, referring to the hearings that have put BP officials in the hotseat. “But the time for committee hearings is for after the well has been capped – not before.”