June 15th, 2010
05:25 PM ET
4 years ago

Obama names new top drilling regulator

President Barack Obama on Tuesday appointed Michael Bromwich as the new head of a reorganized federal effort to regulate offshore oil drilling.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday appointed Michael Bromwich as the new head of a reorganized federal effort to regulate offshore oil drilling.

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday appointed Michael Bromwich, a former Justice Department watchdog in the Clinton administration, as the new head of a reorganized federal effort to regulate offshore oil drilling.

A White House statement said Bromwich would "lead the effort to reform the Minerals Management Service," an Interior Department agency accused of corrupt practices and poor oversight of offshore drilling in the run-up to the Gulf oil disaster.

"For a decade or more, the cozy relationship between the oil companies and the federal agency was allowed to go unchecked," Obama said in a White House statement. "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."

According to the statement, Bromwich will develop plans "for a new oversight structure, replacing long-standing, inadequate practices with a gold-standard approach for environmental and safety regulation."

"He has a mandate to implement far-reaching change and will have the resources to accomplish that change," the statement said.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar previously 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.

Bromwich, a lawyer who specializes in internal investigations and regulatory matters, was the Justice Department inspector general from 1994-1999 under President Bill Clinton. The job entailed investigating alleged corruption and misconduct in the department.

A graduate of Harvard College, Harvard Law School and Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, Bromwich was a federal prosecutor in New York and served as an associate for the independent counsel office in the Iran-Contra case.

Updated: 5:47 p.m.


Filed under: Energy • MMS • Obama administration
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Not good enough. MMS is fatally flawed by years of corruption and cronyism that makes us look like a 3rd World Banana Republic. Why bother when the just pencil in the reports to get job offers like Senators Trent Lott and Breaux.

    June 15, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. Mesa Mick

    Go get 'em Mike!

    Kick all those Dubya political cronies and Cheney obstructionist oil company plants out of the MMS and replace them with honest, non-partisan American scientists, engineers and other college grads with related degrees.

    Let's put an end to a decade of deliberate rethuglicant sabatoge of competence and their "dumbing down" of our government and it's protection agencies....

    Remember Pres. Reagan, Government CAN solve the problems once you get your retugliCANT obstructionists, flat earthers and elected corporate shills out of it's way...

    June 15, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  3. grrace

    I agree with Victim of GOP Taliban. I mean, who needs to fear the Taliban and/or the "mob" when they're running our banks and oil /coal industries. Let's hope they havn't taken over the Nuclear Power industry too.

    June 15, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  4. american patriot

    Let me guess.

    He hired another Lawyer to runit..

    Probably another brother.

    June 15, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  5. Opkode

    That's a refreshing change? Dragging up some old fossil from the Clinton days?

    Expected.

    June 15, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  6. Enough

    A little too little a little too late....................2012 can't get here fast enough.

    June 15, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    Wonder if the republicans have to vote on him? Wonder how they would vote?

    June 15, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  8. stewart gilligan griffin

    why would we need regulations? who cares, business can take care of itself. bunch of socialist i tell you. Hey Enough and american patriot, way to try and have it both ways. you two are such a bunch of hypoctical dopes. you want the government out of everyones business, yet you can't cry and whine if they don't do something to fix the problem. which is it? please, head back to the blue oyster with your boyfriends and let the rest of the population work on the real issues. next time either of you get a thought, let it go.

    June 15, 2010 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  9. valwayne

    Way too little! Way too late!

    June 15, 2010 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  10. TOTUS 4 PRESIDENT

    "For a decade or more..." - the typical Obama shift the blame on Bush game! The MMS has been virtually unchanged for over 30 years, including during all of Clinton's 8 years. Yep, that's taking responsibilty all right.

    "Now where's my golf clubs...?"

    June 15, 2010 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  11. MNB

    Another pencil neck Lib.
    "Last 10 years" Bush, Bush, Bush – so sick of this.
    Obama has been in office for how long?
    He bestowed upon BP some award before the spill. BP is a major Dem donor.
    Obama hates anyone or any company that makes money.
    Were it not for BP's profits – who would be cleaning up the mess.
    To stop drilling everywhere is nonsense. Drilling in shallow waters should continue – Obama was briefed on the details. The saftey valve in shallow waters sits above the water line.
    Obama wants to wreck the industry and use this crisis (a la Rahm) to pass that ridiculous climate bill.

    Please wake up people.

    June 15, 2010 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  12. Jane

    Yep, same ole same ole. Cannot get new blood and an honest person in this post–another holdover from the Clinton administration. No wonder Obama's administration is a sham. Same circus just a different cast of characters.

    June 15, 2010 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  13. tara

    a cozy relationship indeed , BP was a huge donor during Obama's campaign.

    June 15, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  14. Aaron

    He's got to be buddies with someone in the industry he'll be regulating. It's doubtful that he'd have considered if he weren't. Washington doesn't work that way.

    June 15, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain

    All you posters complaining about President Obama crack me up, with your talk about how you can hardly wait until 2012.

    And what? Put someone back in the White House like the village idiot we had for 8 years? Give power back to the Republican Congress and Senate, who rubber-stamped all of GW Bush's (actually, Dick Cheney's and Karl Rove's) tried-and-failed policies that got us into the messes President Obama is trying to clean up?

    You know, if the Republicans actually had something to offer other than criticism, lies, fear and hate, I might listen to them.

    But all they do is whine about how they'd do a better job – WHEN WE HAVE SEEN WHAT THEY CAN DO.

    Which is nothing except hasten the ruin of our country.

    June 15, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  16. ajax

    Was it not Bill Clinton that signed the deep sea drilling act into law?Wasn't it Clinton that exempted oil companies from paying royalities from the oil found ?This lead to the explosive increase in deep sea drilling that we have.And now , you're bringing in another person to head up the agency who job will be to make sure things are on the up and up, that was partly responsible for the situation we are in .

    June 15, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  17. Jim

    I am sorry but it doesn't just "makes us look like a 3rd World Banana Republic."
    We are one. Doesn't matter which of the two sets of cronies are in power.

    June 15, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  18. Walter

    The demoncrats are at it again (I usually refrain from name-calling, but Mesa Mick's ridiculous entry got me annoyed.) This will result in nothing more than gorging at the government trough. Just keep watching that deficit and debt continue to rise. November can't come soon enough so we can end Obama's endless increase in government employees and agencies.

    June 15, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  19. ehwilson429

    another Harvard loser.

    Another lawyer.

    Another guy with a scruffy academic beard.

    June 15, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  20. Moderate Sean

    Can't anything be non-political with you conservative wingnuts?? I mean get a grip on reality, or at least grasp at it! Someone is trying to fix a ineffective gov't agency, that no doubt was the same under the previous administration, yet it's Pres. Obama's fault, uhuh, ok! I have been a moderate for quite some time, but with all these idealogical loons out there, I might have to look at more Progressive stances.

    June 15, 2010 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  21. j

    This is exactly why the government needs to act as a regulatory body... to prevent disasters like this from happening. The previous Republican administrations and Republican policies are largely to blame for this disaster.

    June 15, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  22. jenn,philadelphia

    "For a decade or more..." meaning : "it's George Bush's fault". And this man has the nerve to call others on the carpet for passing the buck? This corruption is so ingrained, I would guess it's been going on for many decades through many administrations, but why pass up a chance to blame Bush.

    June 15, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  23. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Now is a great time for people who are idol to go to college and get some kind of degree in environmental disasters. You would serve your country well.

    June 15, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  24. allowed to go unchecked

    don't have any faith in this changing anything

    June 15, 2010 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  25. Willy Brown

    Just what we need another lawyer advising a professor of law. Wonderful times this hope and change stuff.

    June 15, 2010 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |