Chancellor Fran Ulmer on her appointment by President Obama to the BP Deepwater Horizon Spill National Commission

by Kathleen McCoy  |   

Dear colleagues and friends:

Over the past seven weeks, we've all seen images from and heard reports about the tragic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. On May 22, President Obama announced that he was forming a National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. This group is charged with investigating the causes of the explosion and recommending changes to prevent future disasters. I am honored that President Obama has asked me to serve as one of the seven members of this new commission.

This is a volunteer post and I am able to continue as UAA's Chancellor, with President Gamble's enthusiastic support. I will travel to Washington D.C. for periodic meetings over the next six months, but otherwise look forward to serving the UAA community until my planned retirement in June 2011. My participation on this commission supports the University's mission to help meet the needs of our state and of our country. My dual role as a commission member and as UAA's Chancellor will allow me to serve as a link between the commission and University of Alaska researchers and area experts in oil spill response and prevention.

I have a deep commitment to public service and environmental policy. Having served in the Alaska Legislature during the Exxon Valdez oil spill, I was a member of the Special Committee on the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Claims Settlement. During that time, many changes were made in law and regulation. I hope to serve as a bridge between Alaskans, particularly those who have been affected by the Exxon Valdez spill, and those recommending the additional changes needed to prevent further disasters.

I hope that my previous experiences (including service on the Alaska Coastal Policy Council, the Alaska Nature Conservancy, the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission, Governor Knowles' Alaska Highway Natural Gas Policy Council, and many others over the years) will be useful to the commission. In order to focus my attention and avoid conflicts, I plan to resign my current board positions prior to beginning work on the commission.

Thank you for being part of such a strong, passionate team, and for helping to make UAA a great place for students, staff, faculty and the community.


Fran Ulmer

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