Would Make Recommendations on the Impacts and Risks of Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 6, 2010) - Today, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) announced they will be introducing legislation to create an independent, non-partisan, “blue-ribbon” commission to investigate the causes of the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and provide the President, Congress, and the public with recommendations to avoid such disasters in the future. The commission would serve as an important long-term addition to the Obama administration’s excellent short-term efforts to investigate and respond to the Gulf spill.
The commission would also be tasked with providing Congress with a full understanding of the consequences of this spill and possible future incidents to sensitive and ecologically important areas, as well as the economic impacts to ocean and coastal communities. Additionally, the commission would have subpoena power and the ability to hold public hearings, including in the Gulf region.
“Following the Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown, President Carter appointed an independent panel, called the Kemeny Commission, to investigate the cause of the meltdown and recommend safety improvements. President Obama’s administration and Congress are already conducting a comprehensive, robust investigation into this accident. Appointing an independent blue-ribbon panel will help provide the recommendations to ensure that similar disasters do not happen again,” said Markey, chair of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. “Whether it’s meltdown at Three Mile Island or a blowout one mile deep, appointing an independent review panel is an important part of reducing the risks of future accidents.”
“As 200,000 gallons of oil per day continue to spill into the Gulf Mexico, it’s becoming painfully clear that the economic, ecological and public health effects of this spill could dwarf any environmental disaster in our nation’s history. But this disaster will be all the more tragic if we fail to learn from it,” said Capps. “The President and his administration swiftly responded to the spill from day one, mobilizing the government’s resources to attempt to minimize the harm to the Gulf Coast. Now it’s time to ensure a complete examination of the spill and its aftermath by appointing an independent, nonpartisan commission to assess the causes and damages and make recommendations to prevent future tragedies.”
Similar commissions have been convened in the past to investigate disasters including the nuclear meltdown at Three Mile Island and the Challenger Space Shuttle Explosion.