Salazar Swears-In Michael R. Bromwich to Lead Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement

Secretarial Order Begins Reorganization of Former MMS

Last edited 09/29/2021

WASHINGTON, DC – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today swore-in former Justice Department Inspector General Michael Bromwich to lead reforms that will strengthen oversight and policing of offshore oil and gas development.

Bromwich will oversee the fundamental restructuring of the former Minerals Management Service, which was responsible for overseeing oil and gas development on the Outer Continental Shelf. A Secretarial Order that Salazar has signed renames the Minerals Management Service the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (“Bureau of Ocean Energy” or “BOE”) as it undergoes reorganization and reform.

“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.”

“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,” said Bromwich. “We will move quickly and responsibly on our reforms.”

The Secretarial Order renaming MMS as the Bureau of Ocean Energy is one of several organizational reforms that Bromwich will lead. Bromwich is working with Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Wilma Lewis; Assistant Secretary for Policy Management and Budget Rhea Suh; and Senior Advisor Chris Henderson on the implementation program for restructuring of the agency's oil and gas management missions.

Bromwich served as Inspector General for the Department of Justice from 1994 to 1999 and oversaw numerous high-profile investigations, including the misconduct in the FBI laboratory and the FBI's involvement in the Aldrich Ames case.

He has also served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York from 1983 to 1987 and as an associate counsel in the Office of the Independent Counsel during the Iran-Contra investigation from 1987 to 1989.

As a partner with the law firm of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson since 1999, Bromwich has specialized in conducting internal investigations for private companies and other organizations; providing monitoring and oversight services in connection with public and private litigation and government enforcement actions; and representing institutions and individuals in white-collar criminal and regulatory matters.

Since May 28, Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey has been serving as Interim Acting Director of the Minerals Management Service. Abbey will return to serving as full-time director of the BLM.

As a lawyer in private practice, Bromwich conducted many major internal investigations for companies, both publicly traded and privately held, in the energy, pharmaceuticals, public accounting, and private security industries, among others; reviewed the compliance programs and policies of major companies in a variety of industries; conducted extensive field reviews of such programs and made recommendations for their improvement; and represented companies and individuals in state and federal criminal investigations.

In 2002 the Department of Justice and the District of Columbia selected Bromwich to serve as the Independent Monitor for the District of Columbia's Metropolitan Police Department, focusing on use of force, civil rights integrity, internal misconduct, and training issues. He served in that position until 2008 when the department was determined to have achieved substantial compliance.

In 2007, the City of Houston selected Bromwich to undertake a comprehensive investigation of the Houston Police Department Crime Lab. The investigation identified serious problems in some of the crime lab's operations, and Bromwich made recommendations for the lab's improvement.

A 1976 graduate of Harvard, Bromwich received a JD from Harvard Law School and a Masters degree in public policy from the university's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Over the last several weeks, Secretary Salazar has continued his agenda to change how the Department of the Interior does business, including launching several reforms for the management and oversight of offshore energy operations.

Recent reforms include:

  • Moving to divide MMS's three separate and conflicting missions into three separate entities - the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, and the Office of Natural Resource Revenue to improve the oversight of offshore energy development;
  • Ordering a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling in the gulf to give the industry time to implement new safety requirements and to allow the Presidential Commission to complete its work on the Deepwater Horizon spill.

To view the Secretarial Order, click here. Photos of Michael Bromwich's swearing in are downloadable.

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