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Press Room:  For Immediate Release 
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet

May 20, 2010

Contact: Kristina Johnson
(415) 977-5619

White House Names Graham, Reilly Chairs of BP Disaster Investigation Commission

Washington, D.C. - Sierra Club today praised President Obama's naming of Bob Graham and Bill Reilly to co-chair a commission to investigate the oil disaster caused by BP and the Deepwater Horizon rig.

Statement of Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune

We applaud President Obama for his efforts to respond to the BP oil disaster quickly and vigorously.  We are particularly pleased to see the President's Commission chaired by Senator Bob Graham and Administrator Bill Reilly.  With these two leaders at the helm, we are confident that the Commission will play a vital role in making sure that those responsible for this tragedy are held accountable and that this kind of disaster never happens again.

As first Governor and then Senator, Bob Graham of Florida has long championed our nation’s coastlines and coastal economies.  Senator Graham understands the need to move America off of fossil fuels.  Former EPA Administrator Bill Reilly has a broad array of experience.  In addition to heading the EPA, Reilly’s work with the National Wildlife Federation, the World Wildlife Fund, and ConocoPhillips makes him uniquely qualified to co-chair this commission.

We also applaud President Obama's swift efforts to reform the Mineral Management System.  As the President said last week, Big Oil's cozy relationship with our government is at an end.  In its place we are seeing an administration that is building a clean energy economy that works for America's middle class while protecting the air we breathe and the water we drink.

Today, we know that despite desperate attempts to respond to the disaster and the brave efforts of workers in the Gulf, oil is pouring into the ocean at a rate of as much as one million gallons a day. The Gulf Coast fishing and tourism industries are at stand still.  In the month since the blowout, we have seen just how grossly unprepared the oil industry is for a disaster of this scale. We're now looking at a scenario where response plans include lighting the ocean on fire, pouring potent chemicals into the water, and using trash and human hair to stop the flow of oil. If this is the back up plan, we need to rethink taking the risk in the first place.

We are confident that with the President's Commission in place, we will soon see those responsible accountable for the full cost of recovery, significant improvements in the safety and oversight of this dangerous industry, and a plan to move the America towards a clean energy future.

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