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It is the first meeting of the President’s oil spill commission here in New Orleans

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TV and newspapers interview the Oil Spill Commission in New Orleans

TV and print media interview the President's Oil Spill Commission this morning before the 2-day public meeting kicks off in New Orleans. Photo by Will Nuckols


It is Monday morning here at the Hilton Hotel in New Orleans, and the first meeting of the President’s oil spill commission has begun its work, starting the clock on the six-month time frame for a report to be provided to President Obama on the causes of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and recommendations on how offshore drilling should proceed in the future, given lessons learned from this spill.  

Even before the meeting began this morning, reporters were pressing Commission members for comments. Co-chair Bob Graham was asked pointed questions about the role of the Commission’s work and how the knowledge they are gaining will be applied to decisions about the administration moratorium on deepwater drilling.  

Senator Graham was quick to state that while the Commission is just starting its investigation, representatives from the Department of the Interior have been examining issues connected to the moratorium for some time.  Further pressed by reporters from AP and Reuters about whether the knowledge the Commission gains could be released in some sort of an interim report, Graham laid out several areas that will be investigated by both the Commission and also by DOI.  

1. Was the BP Deepwater Horizon accident and spill an outlier, or are the conditions that they experienced and the procedures on the Transocean  drill platform representative of procedures and difficulties experienced by other offshore drilling projects?  

2. Was the federal oversight, primarily MMS oversight, sufficient prior to the accident on the Deepwater Horizon? Post-reorganization at MMS, is it now sufficient?  

3. Was the drill site itself, from a perspective of geological forces, a particularly dangerous site?  How does that site compare with other sites where drilling is, or plans to occur, in the Gulf of Mexico?  

While DOI has been examining these issues for some time already, Graham stated that the Commission will share recommendations it develops as they become available.  

Graham was realistic about the Commission’s ability to provide detailed comment immediately. “DOI has been looking at this for some time, and we are meeting for the first time only today,”  

***additional posts from New Orleans will be made over the next three days as the commission meets and receives comments. Stay tuned…..  

The author is a scientist by training and the owner of W.H. Nuckols Consulting, an environmental policy firm.
A bio for Mr. Nuckols is located at www.WilliamHNuckols.com


Written by Will Nuckols

July 12, 2010 at 9:18 am

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