As BP works to cap current leak, Obama eyes how to stop future spills

June 1, 2010

(CNN) — President Obama will meet Tuesday with the heads of a new commission created to investigate how to prevent future oil spills like the devastating leak from BP’s Gulf of Mexico well.

White House aides said Obama will make public comments after meeting with former Sen. Bob Graham of Florida and former Environmental Protection Agency administrator William Reilly. The two are leading a commission that has six months to issue a report with recommendations on how to prevent future spills resulting from offshore drilling.
The meeting comes as BP continues its plan to stop oil gushing into the Gulf, 43 days after an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig started the spill.

BP, rig owner Transocean Ltd. and oilfield services company Halliburton have blamed each other for the disaster, which left 11 workers dead, but BP is responsible for cleanup under federal law.

The company has said it plans to try to place a custom-built cap over part of a piece of equipment called the “lower marine riser package,” but has not specified when that operation will take place.

Up to 19,000 barrels (798,000 gallons) of oil a day have been spewing into the Gulf, according to government estimates. Federal officials ordered another 1,200 square miles of the Gulf of Mexico closed to fishing Monday, extending the restricted zone toward the coasts of Alabama and Mississippi.

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