Obama Names 2 to Gulf Oil Spill Panel

Former Sen. Bob Graham, ex-EPA administrator William Reilly

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted May 22, 2010 6:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – President Obama announced today that former Florida Sen. Bob Graham and former EPA Administrator William K. Reilly will lead a presidential commission investigating the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Graham, a Democrat, is a former Florida governor and senator. Reilly ran the Environmental Protection Agency under President George HW Bush. His tenure at the agency included the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.

"I can't think of two people who will bring greater experience or better judgment to the task at hand," Obama said. Obama intends to name five others to the panel, which will examine everything from what caused the spill to the safety of offshore drilling to operations at the Minerals Management Service, the federal agency that grants drilling rights. A report is due in six months. A month after the explosion, residents, elected officials and environmental groups are becoming frustrated with BP's failure to cap the well. They have called for the government to take charge.

In this Dec. 11, 2008 file photo, former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, left, listens during testimony on Capitol Hill.   (Lauren Victoria Burke)
In this Oct. 3, 2003 file photo, William Reilly, a former EPA administrator, speaks at Washington University in St. Louis.   (James A. Finley)
President Obama has named two chairmen to a committee investigating the Gulf oil spill.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Shrimp boats motor through oily water in the Gulf of Mexico along the coast of Louisiana between Cocodrie and Grand Isle, La., Friday, May 21, 2010.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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