15
Jun
10

Obama Appoints Lawyer to Overhaul Oil Drilling Agency

NEWS
Obama Appoints Lawyer to Overhaul Oil Drilling Agency

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

U.S. President Barack Obama announced Tuesday his selection of Michael Bromwich to lead the Administration’s efforts to accelerate reforms in the regulation and oversight of offshore oil drilling.

A former Assistant U.S. Attorney and Justice Department Inspector General, Bromwich will lead the effort to reform the Minerals Management Service (MMS), restoring integrity and rigor to the relationship between federal regulatory officials and oil companies.
Bromwich will develop the plans for a new oversight structure, replacing long-standing, inadequate practices with a gold-standard approach for environmental and safety regulation.

“For a decade or more, the cozy relationship between the oil companies and the federal agency was allowed to go unchecked. That allowed drilling permits to be issued in exchange not for safety plans, but assurances of safety from oil companies. That cannot and will not happen anymore,” Obama said in a statement.
Bromwich will also oversee the reorganization of the MMS to eliminate conflicts among the different missions of the agency which include establishing safety standards, regulating industry compliance, and collecting royalties. These actions will ensure that there is no conflict of interest, real or perceived, in oil industry oversight.
U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has announced plans to split MMS into three new divisions – the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and the Office of Natural Resources Revenue – the most significant in a series of Interior Department reforms launched since January 2009.
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