WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement Director, Michael Bromwich, announced a reorganization of that bureau designed to emphasize drilling safety and a new drilling safety advisory panel of experts. Mike Gravitz, Oceans Advocate of Environment America said the following:
“We like Secretary Salazar’s plan to separate planning and leasing for offshore drilling from safety inspections and the enforcement of standards for the industry. For far too long, the drive to maximize leasing and drilling has trumped the efforts of safety regulators, inspections and enforcement.
“We are concerned that environmental input and reviews of the five year drilling plan, lease sales and individual drilling proposals all still lie within the Bureau’s leasing organization, where these concerns have been marginalized in the past. We hope that when the detailed plan is released it calls for some structure or method for ensuring that environmental concerns are not minimized in the future.”
“Secretary Salazar and Director Bromwich have clearly worked overtime to make drilling safer and more environmentally sensitive, and we appreciate that, but the safest drilling is no drilling at all.
“The Administration’s recent announcement protecting the Atlantic, Pacific and Eastern Gulf of Mexico until 2017, along with their focus on developing sustainable sources of energy are important decisions that will help the U.S. get off oil, protect our oceans and coasts, and transition us toward clean energy.”