Obama’s Spill Commission Co-chair has Ties to Oil

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


Rachel Maddow makes an excellent point here. With all the people in the US to lead the bipartisan National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, why did President Obama pick a Republican with ties to the oil industry?

William K. Reilly was the head of the Environmental Protection Agency from 1989 through 1992. But now he’s on the board of ConocoPhillips, DuPont (which creates products for the oil industry, among other things), and the Texas-based electric utility company, Energy Future Holdings.

ConocoPhillips in particular is not without a stake in this investigation. The company has a partnership with BP on exploration in another region of the Gulf, as well as joint venture with BP on the Alaska natural gas pipeline. It also has leases for exploration in the arctic, in a region whose fate will likely be decided by this panel.

Reilly is also the former president of World Wildlife Fund. But still—couldn’t Obama, who just yesterday criticized the “far too cozy” relationship oil companies have enjoyed with the government, find a Republican who didn’t have ties to the industry for this key post?

If you appreciate our BP coverage, please consider making a tax-deductible donation.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.