President Obama announced Saturday that he has signed an executive order creating a bipartisan “National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling,” which will be co-chaired by former federal officials with a decidedly environmental bent.
The commission will be steered by former Florida Gov. and one-time Democratic Sen. Bob Graham and William K. Reilly, former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In addition, it will have five other members with “broad and diverse representations” of expertise, including scientists, engineers and environmental advocates. No sitting government workers or elected officials will be named to the commission. The commission is expected to issue a report within six months of having convened, according to the White House.
“The commission will be focused on the necessary environmental and safety precautions we must build into our regulatory framework in order to ensure an [oil spill] accident like this never happens again,” the White House said.
Graham’s term as Florida governor spanned from 1979 to 1987, and he served in the U.S. Senate from 1987 to 2005. As governor, he launched the most extensive environmental protection program in the state’s history, focused on preserving endangered lands. During his tenure thousands of acres of threatened and environmentally important lands in Florida were brought into state ownership for permanent protection. His primary accomplishment was the establishment of the “Save the Everglades” program.
Reilly was EPA administrator between 1989 and 1993, president of the World Wildlife Fund ((1985-1989), president of The Conservation Foundation (1973-1989), and director of the Rockefeller Task Force on Land Use and Urban Growth (1972-1973). He also headed up the U.S. delegation to the United Nations Earth Summit at Rio in 1992. Reilly serves on several boards of directors, including ConocoPhillips.
Reilly is a founding partner of Aqua International Partners LP, a private equity fund dedicated to investing in companies engaged in water and renewable energy, and is a senior adviser to TPG Capital LP, an international investment partnership.
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