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Obama Meets With Deepwater Horizon Commission

President Barack Obama just gave a brief address after his first meeting with his bipartisan commission to investigate the Deepwater Horizon disaster — the “greatest environmental disaster of its kind in our history.”

The commission is headed by Bob Graham, the former Florida governor and senator, and William Reilly, the former Environmental Protection Agency administrator. Obama said that he has tasked Graham and Reilly with “thoroughly [examining] the spill and its causes so that we never face such a catastrophe again” — investigating the causes of the Deepwater Horizon incident and authoring a report on how to “prevent and mitigate” such disasters in the future. He said the report is due in six months. The BP oil drilling site is still gushing thousands of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, 40 days since the first explosion.

“We have an obligation to determine what went wrong and the reposnse needed,” Obama said. “If the laws on our books are insufficient to prevent such a spill, the laws must change. If oversight is insufficient to prevent such a spill, oversight must be reformed.” He described the Minerals Management Service, the BP well’s regulator, as “plagued by corruption” and “appalling activity.” He also bashed the “cozy relationship” between oil companies and regulators — promising “aggressive new standards.”

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