Former Justice Department Inspector General Michael Bromwich took the reins Monday of the newly renamed government entity charged with the regulation of offshore drilling in the wake of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement — or the Bureau of Ocean Energy (BOE) for short — was named by Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar in a Secretarial Order dated June 18.
Bromwich was sworn in during a small ceremony Monday, less than a week after President Barack Obama announced he was taking over the division previously known as the Minerals Management Service.
In a statement, Salazar praised Bromwich’s qualifications for the job.
“Michael Bromwich has a strong track record of reforming the way organizations work, both in the public and private sectors,” Salazar said. “He will be a key part of our team as we continue to change the way the Department of the Interior does business, help our nation transition to a clean energy future, and lead the reforms that will raise the bar for offshore oil and gas operations.”
Salazar told The New York Times that he chose Bromwich from a list of nine candidates given to him by the White House. Bromwich had been a litigation partner resident at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP since 1999. He served as Inspector General for the Department of Justice from 1994 until 1999.
Bromwich, known during his time as Inspector General of DOJ as a meticulous enforcer of ethical standards, pledged tough enforcement of offshore drilling operations in a statement.
“The BP oil spill has underscored the need for stronger oversight of offshore oil and gas operations, more tools and resources for aggressive enforcement, and a more effective structure for the agency that holds companies accountable,” Bromwich said. “We will move quickly and responsibly on our reforms.”
Only Bromwich’s new colleagues attended his swearing-in ceremony, a spokeswoman told The Washington Post. Interior Department Communications Director Betsy Hildebrandt held the Bible for Bromwich as he took his oath.