About the Commission
President Barack Obama established the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling through Executive Order 13543 on May 21, 2010. The Commission examined the relevant facts and circumstances concerning the root causes of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and developed options to guard against, and mitigate the impact of, any oil spills associated with offshore drilling in the future. This included recommending improvements to federal laws, regulations, and industry practices.
Key areas of inquiry for the Commission included:
- The Macondo Well Explosion and Drilling Safety
- The Role of Offshore Oil Drilling in Domestic Energy Policy
- Regulatory Oversight of Offshore Drilling
- Oil Spill Response
- Spill Impacts and Assessment
- Restoration Approaches and Options
The Commission was co-chaired by Senator Bob Graham and former EPA Administrator William K. Reilly. The other Commissioners were Frances Beinecke, Donald Boesch, Terry Garcia, Cherry Murray, and Frances Ulmer. Over the course of its work, the Commission held public meetings, produced staff working papers, met frequently with stakeholders, interviewed key players, and analyzed the evidence related to the spill and its aftermath.
The Designated Federal Officials for the Commission were Christopher A. Smith, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil and Natural Gas in the Office of Fossil Energy of the U.S. Department of Energy and Elena Melchert, Office of Fossil Energy, Department of Energy.
A final report on the Commission’s findings was presented to the President on January 12, 2011.