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Commission Formed|to Study Oil Spill

WASHINGTON (CN) - President Obama has ordered establishment of a national commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and offshore drilling that will hold public hearings to investigate the causes of the Deepwater Horizon spill and to develop options for guarding against, and mitigating the impact of, oil spills associated with offshore drilling.

Former two-term Florida governor and former Sen. Bob Graham and former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency William Reilly will serve as co-chairs of the bipartisan commission. The president's order calls for seven people to be appointed to the commission representing the oil and gas industry and the scientific and environmental communities.

The commission will have six months from the date of its first meeting to issue a public report with findings about the current spill and recommendations on any improvements to federal laws, regulations, and industry practices needed to ensure effective oversight, monitoring, and response capabilities in the event of future calamities.

The commission is the most recent step taken by the administration to prevent future spills and to appear active and engaged with regard to the Deepwater Horizon spill and the safety issues around offshore drilling in general.

Since the spill began, the President has ordered inspections of all deepwater operations in the Gulf of Mexico, and declared a moratorium on new offshore drilling permits until a 30-day environmental and safety review by the Environmental Protection Agency is completed.

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