Today, Michael Bromwich, director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) came to Public Citizen to talk about the progress he has made setting up this new bureau to replace the Minerals Management Service (MMS) in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and resulting oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
Mr. Bromwich began by saying that the Minerals Management Service (MMS) was set up to do one thing– maximize profit for the U.S. Treasury. This is not the current objective of BOEMERE according to Bromwich who said that the they were the “most reviewed and tested agency” in the last decade. He staunchly defended the efforts that have been made to advance safety and environmental considerations under his oversight. Among the efforts he touted:
1) The creation of “Chief Environmentalist” position that would “amplify” the concerns of environmentalist to the people making decisions
2) New trainings coordinated by the government, as opposed to industry
3) New conflict of interest rules that would require an inspector to dismiss himself from inspecting a rig where a relative or colleague worked
4) Recruitment of new blood to shake up and balance already existing staff.
Most notably, Bromwich agreed with Public Citizen that we cannot drill our way to lower gas prices. However, Public Citizen President Robert Weissman exposed an area of disagreement when he questioned Bromwich’s belief that the players most directly tied to the BP disaster continue to deserve a seat at the regulatory table.
See our flickr album from the event. And, check back tomorrow for video of this event.