Ulmer named to BP oil spill commission

Posted: Thursday, June 17, 2010

JUNEAU - Former Juneau mayor and legislator Fran Ulmer, now chancellor of the University of Alaska Anchorage, will serve as one of seven members of the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling Commission, President Obama announced Monday.

The commission is charged with investigating the causes of the explosion and oil spill and recommending changes to prevent future disasters.

"I'm honored that President Obama has asked me to serve on this important commission," Ulmer said. "I have a deep commitment to public service and to improving the way scientific research is included in public policy decisions. Hopefully, I will be able to serve as a bridge between Alaskans, particularly those who have been affected by the Exxon Valdez spill, and those recommending the changes needed to prevent future disasters."

Since this is a volunteer position, Ulmer will continue as UAA's Chancellor until she retires in June 2011. Ulmer's dual role as a commission member and as UAA's Chancellor will allow her to serve as a link between the commission and University of Alaska researchers and area experts in oil spill response and prevention.

Ulmer has spent more than 30 years working in public service on the local, state and national levels, helping to craft public and environmental policy.

After serving as mayor, she represented Juneau for two terms in the Alaska House of Representatives prior to Kim Elton, now an Obama administration official in Washington, D.C.

As a state legislator, Ulmer served as a member on the Special Committee on the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Claims Settlement. In addition, she was the first chair of the Alaska Coastal Policy Council, a member of former Gov. Tony Knowles' Alaska Highway Natural Gas Policy Council and served for more than 10 years on the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission.

She served two terms as Alaska's lieutenant governor during the Knowles Administration.

In addition to serving on the boards of several local organizations, Ulmer also serves on the Board for the Alaska Nature Conservancy, the National Parks Conservation Association, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the on Aspen Institute's Commission on Arctic Climate Change. Ulmer said she will resign from those positions prior to beginning work on the commission to avoid conflicts of interest.

The National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling is expected to deliver a report to President Obama within six months.

More information about the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling can be found online at www.whitehouse.gov/deepwater-bp-oil-spill/.

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