(CNN) - The presidential commission tasked with investigating the Gulf oil gusher and making recommendations about the future of offshore drilling will hold its first public meeting Monday.
The National Oil Spill Commission has six months to determine what happened when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded April 20, leading to the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history - and how to prevent something similar from ever happening again.
Committee co-chairman, William K. Reilly, said it was hard to believe that more progress has not been made in responding to oil spills.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/07/art.bob0407.gi.jpg caption="'It is important for all Virginians to reflect upon our Commonwealth's shared history, to understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War, . . . ,' Gov. McDonnell's proclamation reads."]
(CNN) - For the first time in eight years, Virginia's Republican governor has issued a proclamation declaring April as Confederate History Month in the state, drawing criticism from Democrats and a civil rights group.
"It is important for all Virginians to reflect upon our Commonwealth's shared history, to understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War, and to recognize how our history has led to our present," Gov. Robert McDonnell's seven-paragraph proclamation reads in part.
He quietly made the declaration after two previous Democratic administrations refused to do so.
"This defining chapter in Virginia's history should not be forgotten, but instead should be studied, understood and remembered by all Virginians," the governor's proclamation reads.
It does not mention slavery.
"I wish he would have followed the examples of Gov. [Mark] Warner and Gov. [Tim] Kaine, but obviously he has declined to do so," state Sen. Don McEachin, a Democrat, told CNN affiliate WWBT. "I also find it interesting that while he issues his proclamation, there's no mention of slavery."