This morning, I had the opportunity to appear before the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling to discuss the CEQ report on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) procedures for environmental reviews by the former Minerals Management Service (MMS). President Obama established the Commission to examine the relevant facts and circumstances concerning the root causes of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and to develop options to guard against, and mitigate the impact of, any oil spills associated with offshore drilling in the future.
Last week, I joined EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco, and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in Louisiana to view firsthand relief work following the Deepwater oil spill, assess the Federal response efforts and discuss long-term Gulf Coast restoration and recovery.
We began our trip at the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustee Steering Committee Meeting. The BP oil spill is another blow to the already fragile ecology of the Gulf Coast, and we are doing everything in our power to contain the damage from this disaster and get the people of the Gulf the help they need.
Following the meeting we traveled to Venice, LA, to view some of the environmental cleanup progress so far. We took a boat tour of the Delta National Wildlife Refuge and the surrounding areas affected by the spill, saw marsh restoration projects and were briefed on the recovery efforts. This refuge comprises almost 50,000 acres of marshlands and open water and provides refuge for fish, waterfowl and other wildlife, providing opportunities for hunting, fishing, and recreational activities.
We are committed to doing everything in our power to protect these natural resources and rebuild what has been harmed, both in response to this environmental disaster, and as part of our pre-existing, long-term commitment to ensuring the health and viability of the rich and beautiful ecosystems of the Gulf Coast.
Nancy Sutley is the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality