The co-chairs of the bipartisan National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling have selected a highly regarded Georgetown University law professor to serve as the commission’s executive director, the U.S. Department of Energy said today.
The move comes as the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill continues unabated, with the government consistently raising its estimate of just how much oil is spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, along with ongoing damaging revelations of how government regulators failed, once again, to do their job in ways that could have prevented the disaster. Every day 1.5 to 2.5 million gallons oil enters the Gulf, according to the latest estimates.
The environmental crisis has the Obama Administration, with its green rhetoric revealed as just that according to critics, scrambling to make the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history an election year issue against what it deems are pro oil industry Republicans. (See Will We Drive Less because of the BP Oil Spill?)
Following a meeting with the President of the United States last week, the BP Board announced a package of measures to meet its obligations as a responsible party arising from the Deepwater Horizon spill, including the creation of a $20 billion claims fund over the next three and a half years.
Representative Joe Barton (R-Texas) – the leading Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee – said early last week that President Obama’s insistence that BP establish an escrow fund to help pay for the growing ecological and economic damages from the spill was a “shakedown” and that the U.S. Congress owed British Petroleum an apology.
Barton has received more than $1 million in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industries.