US Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar on 16 September named two officials within the department to lead two new bureaus focused on offshore energy issues. Current Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) director Michael R Bromwich will lead the newly formed Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), and current BOEMRE senior advisor Tommy P Beaudreau will lead the newly formed Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM).
Mr Bromwich and Mr Beaudreau have both been involved in the creation of the two bureaus, as well as the department’s efforts to strengthen the oversight of offshore oil and gas exploration and development. BSEE and BOEM will be officially established on 1 October.
Mr Bromwich, who will be a keynote speaker at the IADC Annual General Meeting on 9-11 November, will serve as BSEE director until a permanent director is selected. The department has launched a nationwide recruitment effort for a permanent director. Mr Beaudreau will serve as permanent BOEM director.
“We have moved quickly and thoughtfully to create strong and separate agencies to manage offshore energy development, to collect energy revenues and to oversee safety and environmental protection on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS),” Secretary Salazar said. “Director Bromwich is a top-flight manager with a track record of solving problems and implementing reform, in the private sector, in the public sector and at BOEMRE. Beaudreau has been an engine behind the many changes BOEMRE has made to raise the bar for safety and environmental protection in energy operations; he will be a strong, tireless and effective leader for BOEM.”
In May 2010, Mr Salazar signed a secretarial order that divided the three conflicting missions of the Minerals Management Service (MMS) into separate entities: BSEE, BOEM and the Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR). MMS was renamed BOEMRE in June 2010. ONRR was separated from BOEMRE in October 2010 and now operates under the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget. ONRR is responsible for managing revenues associated with federal offshore and federal and American Indian onshore mineral leases, as well as revenues received from offshore renewable energy efforts.
BSEE will be responsible for inspections, enforcement and safety of offshore oil and gas operations. Its functions will include the development and enforcement of safety and environmental regulations, research, inspections, offshore regulatory programs, oil spill response, and newly formed training and environmental compliance programs.
“For the past 15 months, we have worked extremely hard to build two new organizations that are staffed with high-quality professionals who are committed to their respective missions,” Mr Bromwich said. “I believe BSEE and BOEM have very bright futures, and I congratulate Tommy on his new position. He will do an outstanding job. I am honored to lead BSEE and to carry on its important work until a permanent director can be found.”
Before being asked by President Barack Obama and Secretary Salazar to lead BOEMRE in June 2010, Mr Bromwich previously served as inspector general for the Department of Justice from 1994 to 1999. Prior to that, he served as a federal prosecutor in New York and Washington, DC, and has spent 18 years in private law practice.
BOEM will be responsible for energy leasing and planning on the OCS. BOEM’s programs include offshore leasing, resource evaluation, review and administration of oil and gas exploration and development plans, renewable energy development, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis and environmental studies.
“The nation’s offshore energy resources, both conventional and renewable, are essential to our country’s economy and security. The new BOEM will be focused on ensuring that our offshore resources are developed sensibly and responsibly,” Mr Beaudreau said. “I am proud to be BOEM’s first director and look forward to helping fulfill Secretary Salazar’s and Director Bromwich’s vision for this new agency.”
Mr Beaudreau currently serves as senior advisor to the BOEMRE director where he has played an integral role in implementing the bureau’s reform agenda with respect to the regulation of offshore oil and gas development and the reorganization of the former MMS. He was previously a partner at the law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP.
Read more about BOEMRE’s reorganization progress here.
For more information on BOEMRE’s reform efforts, click here.