New Orleans, La. – The co-chairmen of the National Oil Spill Commission are standing by the panel's findings and recommendations to prevent another disaster. Lawmakers took turns commending - and some slamming - the commission's final report. Some say it's premature because it doesn't include findings still being determined on why the blowout preventer failed. Co-chairman William Reilly says the review found systemic failures led to the rig explosion and spill, not one piece of equipment.
New Orleans, La. – Only two of the seven panelists panel managed to attend the first session. Co-chairmen William Reilly and former Senator Bob Graham were stuck in the aftermath of an East Coast snowstorm. Panel members Don Boesch (bawhsh) and Frances Beinecke (BYE-neh-kee) presided at a forum in a downtown New Orleans hotel. Boesch started off with an overview of the major questions, and what the panel has determined.
New Orleans, La. – The final report ordered by President Obama says that if changes aren't made in how offshore drilling is conducted, there will be another spill. Co-chairman Bob Graham says the new Congress should raise salaries of government inspectors who oversee the industry - even if the current political climate leans toward cutting government regulations and spending.
New Orleans, La. – Garret Graves says the commission's report due next Tuesday should outline ways to step up oil and gas operations he says are vital to the national economy.
"We'd like to see the commission coming out and recommending that we quickly move forward on lifting - fully lifting this moratorium, whether it's an official or unofficial moratorium on deepwater and shallow-water oil and gas production."