Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Tuesday he expects a new presidential commission tasked with investigating how to prevent future oil spills to "follow the facts wherever they may lead" and report back to him in six months.
The seven-member panel, headed by former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Florida, and former EPA Administrator William Reilly, will "thoroughly examine the (BP oil) spill and its causes so we never face such a catastrophe again," Obama said at the White House. Graham and Reilly joined the president for the announcement.
"We owe all those who've been harmed, as well as future generations, a full and vigorous accounting of the events that led to what has now become the worst oil spill in U.S. history," Obama said. "Only then can we be assured that deep-water drilling can take place safely. ... Only then can we be confident that we've done what's necessary to prevent history from repeating itself."
Obama, who recently created the commission through an executive order, noted that the panel is authorized to hold public hearings and "request information from government, from not-for-profit organizations, and from experts in the oil and gas industry ... as well as from relevant companies, including BP, Transocean, Halliburton and others."
The president's announcement came in the midst of a new BP operation aimed at lessening the amount of oil gushing from an underwater well off the Louisiana coast, according to BP Managing Director Bob Dudley.
BP workers are attempting to make a series of cuts to part of the wellhead in order to prepare the way for a custom-made cap to be fitted over the gusher.
The administration has been struggling to juggle what many observers see as the conflicting tasks of working with BP to contain the spill while also holding BP accountable for the spill's damage. Obama once again insisted Tuesday that the government "will bring those responsible (for the Gulf oil spill) to justice."
Attorney General Eric Holder is heading to the Gulf Coast Tuesday to survey the spill and meet with state attorneys general and federal prosecutors from Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, according to the Justice Department.
Holder said last month that the Justice Department would "ensure that BP is held liable."
Oil has been gushing from the undersea well since April 20 when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and later sank. Government estimates are that up to 19,000 barrels (798,000 gallons) of oil a day are flowing into the Gulf of Mexico.
Updated: 1:35 p.m.
6 months ??? of tax paid governmental do nothing ??? Are we not already paying enough ???
Just another excuse to rectify wasteful spending .... for zero results. Other than figgering how to point the finger at someone other than the Obama joke of an administration.
6 months... That's just ridiculous...how much wildlife must die and how many business need to go under before this buffoon will actually ACT......
to Padraig, if this happened under Bush he would have investigated Exxon. How are all y'all "Drill Baby Drill" dimwits feelin' now.
I wondering if BP is trying to kill off all life on the planet?
That man Obama is so over his head. Can't wait for the landslide vote in 2012 that will prove that he shouldn't have been in the White House in the first place. In all my years, I have ALWAYS respected the man who was president. But this one is one "car wreck" after another.
6 months? this guy you voted in is the biggest joke and just keeps getting bigger and bigger. All say who where you going to vote for McCain. No you should of all listened before the only one doing anything in this guys adminastration is the one you should of voted for in the first place. well here is the I TOLD YOU SO.
I'm hoping in six months O'Blamer will be looking for a new job.
About time. Unfortunately things have to get worse before they can get better. Maybe we can finally figure out that without strict regulation on oil companies and for that matter any corporation they are bound to break the rules for a profit. What next car companies?.. oh wait too late Toyota caught you red handed... Coal? nope people where just killed due to lack of safety... Banks? Caused the worst financial meltdown in history. But yet blame OBAMA he's caused it all. Get off those meds Republicans those too have been proven unsafe due to lack of regulation..
To Padraig and SocialismBad...so as a leader can you advise what you would have done differently? I think these comments are better suited for a solution, rather than allow your "selves" getting involved. As a society we need to let the "self" go and speak more intelligently with resolution, not your opinion....so what do you have to offer?
it is clear to me that the negative posters and those blaming obama are totally clueless and thank god they are not in control!
seems you conveniently forget all the Republicans granted BP and the oil companies before President Obama took office. But oh yea – he is the one handed the mess and its his fault alone if nothing is resolved overnight to please you folks.
I thought Barack said a couple of days ago, "The buck stops here" Now it's been passed on to the Coast Guard. Does he ever mean anything he says. As long as he's talking he's happy. The main hole that needs stopped up is his mouth.
Six months to determine how to prevent future oil spills. I can do that in 10 seconds or so depending on my typing speed.
Drill on land and there will be no oil spills.
and further - isn't it your complaint that President Obama wants government to "take over" too much. So now you want government to do more and blame Obama for not having more.
Here's a good place to start...... stop granting waivers to evironmental impact studies like the obama administration did, in a quid pro quo for more campaign contributions .
Commissions = weakness, commissions = incompetence. Obama doesn't want to be a leader so he creates a commision to look at the spill. Same with the Commission that is looking at balancing the budget. President Obama doesn't have the political will to lead to he wants to make the commission the "bad guys" and results only after the election. This is not the change we were promised.
Has anyone told BP that when the Hurricanes come, this mess will simply travel and disperse even faster and further?
The thing that sticks out in my mind in all this is all the anti-government people who are demanding government intervention in this mess. If President Obama personally dove into the gulf and sucked all of the oil out of the water and personally plugged the leak, Rethugs and their minions would still criticize him. This is big, huge. This problem will not go away anytime soon, and President Obama is on top of it. It's pretty funny that the Bush toadies who ignored the Bush-Katrina mess now expect President Obama to wave a magic wand and fix this. Seriously, if you are that smart, why don't you present the government with some concrete suggestions. After all, we are in this together.