July 3, 2010 / 9:32 PM / 9 years ago

U.S. spill panel to hold public meeting July 12-13

President Barack Obama delivers a statement on the BP oil spill crisis in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, June 1, 2010. Alongside Obama are the co-chairman of the BP Deepwater Horizon Disaster Inquiry Commission Bob Graham (L) and William Reilly. REUTERS/Jason Reed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. presidential panel to probe the cause of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and recommend new rules to prevent future disasters will hold its first public meeting in New Orleans on July 12 and 13, its co-chairs said on Saturday.

The two-day meeting will “hear directly from the people of the Gulf Coast whose lives and livelihoods have been so profoundly affected by the BP Deepwater Horizon spill,” said Bob Graham, a former U.S. Senator, and William Reilly, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, in a statement.

The seven-member commission, which has six months to do its work, will also seek expert advice on “regulatory, technical, legal, scientific and risk-management issues to ensure that any offshore drilling is done safety,” they said.

The Obama administration had issued a moratorium on offshore drilling to give the commission time for its investigation, but a federal court lifted the ban. The government is appealing.

The U.S. Interior Department is expected to issue a revised moratorium in the coming week.

Reporting by Roberta Rampton, editing by Alan Elsner

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