- How was the Commission created?
- What was the Commission’s charge?
- What sorts of things did the Commission look at?
- When did the Commission release its report?
- Who were the Commissioners?
- How was the Commission structured?
- What was the relationship of the Commission to other investigations of the BP Deepwater Horizon Spill?
- What was the Commission’s relationship to the White House and Congress?
- How was the Commission funded?
- What was the size of the Commission staff?
How was the Commission created?
President Barack Obama established the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling by Executive Order (E.O. 13543) on May 21, 2010.
What was the Commission’s charge?
The Commission was established to examine the relevant facts and circumstances concerning the root causes of the Deepwater Horizon explosion, fire and oil spill and develop 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.
What sorts of things did the Commission look at?
Key areas of inquiry for the Commission included offshore oil drilling, regulatory oversight of offshore drilling, containment of the Macondo well explosion and drilling safety, oil spill response, spill impacts and assessment, and restoration approaches and options.
When did the Commission release its report?
The Commission had six months to complete its final report which was presented to President Obama on January 11, 2011. In addition, the Commission produced an interactive presentation of its findings and recommendations, and the Chief Counsel produced a detailed analysis of the root causes of the blow out, and the staff prepared a series of working papers. All these reports are available on this web site.
Who were the Commissioners?
The Commission Co-Chairs were Senator Bob Graham and former EPA Administrator William K. Reilly. The other members of the Commission were:
- Frances Beinecke, President of Natural Resources Defense Council
- Donald Boesch, President of University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
- Terry D. Garcia, Executive Vice President for Mission Programs for the National Geographic Society
- Cherry A. Murray, Dean of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and John A. and Elizabeth S. Armstrong Professor of Engineering and Applied Sciences
- Fran Ulmer, Chancellor of the University of Alaska Anchorage and former Lieutenant Governor of Alaska
How was the Commission structured?
The Commission's work was supported by a staff led by Executive Director Richard Lazarus. The Commissioners also established 6 subcommittees which looked at specific aspects related to the issues of the spill and offshore drilling: 1) Offshore Drilling; 2) The Macondo Well Explosion and Drilling Safety; 3) Regulatory Oversight of Offshore Drilling; 4) Oil Spill Response; 5) Spill Impacts and Assessment; and 6) Restoration: Approaches and Options.
What was the relationship of the Commission to other investigations of the BP Deepwater Horizon Spill?
The Commission operated independently of and separate from all other government and non-government investigations. However, the Commission staff did maintain regular contact with their counterparts involved in other investigations to facilitate efficient sharing of information and to avoid duplication of efforts.
What was the Commission’s relationship to the White House and Congress?
The Commission was established by and was required to submit a report to the President. It also presented its finding to Congress and the American people.
How was the Commission funded?
The Commission’s operations were funded by the Department of Energy.
What was the size of the Commission staff?
Approximately 60 people were employed by the Commission on a full- or part-time basis.