US President Barack Obama is expected to create a presidential commission to investigate the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico as the oil industry and its practices come under sharp scrutiny.
The presidential commission will look into issues related to the spill and its aftermath, including rig safety and regulatory regimes at local, state and federal levels.
The federal government’s oversight role, environmental protections and Minerals Management Service, the Interior Department agency that has been heavily criticised for regulatory lapses, will also be on the panel’s agenda, reports Reuters.
Chris Oynes, the agency’s top official overseeing its offshore oil and gas drilling, also announced that he would retire at the end of the month in the wake of the disaster in the Gulf.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is due to face questions from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today about the agency’s failings on issues surrounding the oil spill and how the Interior Department will be reformed.
Meanwhile, BP said its latest technological breakthrough – a mile-long siphon tube deployed by undersea robots down to the leaking well – is capturing about a fifth of the oil leaking from the ruptured well, however, officials said that although the tube is helping contain the oil, it will not stop the flow.