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Michael Bromwich, a former Justice official, is tapped to head Minerals Management Service

updated: 5:36 p.m.
By Juliet Eilperin
President Obama has selected Michael Bromwich, a partner in the law firm Fried Frank's Washington D.C. and New York offices, to head the Minerals Management Service, the troubled agency that oversees offshore oil drilling, according to senior administration officials.

In announcing the selection Tuesday, the White House said Bromwich would be charged with reorganizing the agency to "ensure that there is no conflict of interest, real or perceived, in oil industry oversight."

"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 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."

While Bromwich has no significant experience with oil and gas issues, he has a reputation for cleaning up embattled organizations. In addition to serving as as inspector general for the Justice Department under President Clinton for five years, he worked as the District Metropolitan Police Department's independent monitor on the issue of excessive force and as the independent investigator for the Houston Police Department's crime lab. He also served as an associate counsel in the Iran-Contra investigation in the late 1980s.

The agency, part of the Interior Department, has come under fire in recent years for failing to adequately oversee offshore oil and gas development.

By Juliet Eilperin  |  June 15, 2010; 5:12 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

Of course, the way Obama thinks, the executive to put in charge of the oil industry in the U.S. has to be a lawyer -- who knows nothing about the oil industry. Surely, there's some Dem in the U.S. who knows something about the thing to be managed. Oh, how Obama's complete lack of executive experience has harmed this nation. He can't choose a competent individual to head up MMS. I guess he wants to make sure he can sue the oil companies, so he got a lawyer.
----------------That's sad because it hurts us all to have a numb skull lawyer in charge of oil drilling. Hurry up November 2, 2010 and 2012 so we can change some of this grade school competence.

Posted by: RonKH | June 17, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I do miss George Bush, even with all his inadequateness.

Posted by: TraderB | June 15, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Mr. President, but acknowledging corruption after damage (oil spill in this case) is done, and no one held accountable? … mmm, what else is new? And I thought you are going to make a difference by cleaning up corruption so such calamities be avoided.

Posted by: Shanan1 | June 15, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Obama has done a great cya job. No one in his right mind would call for impeachment with Joe Biden next in line.

Posted by: TraderB | June 15, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

"This would not be happening under W. You know it. And I know it. But you can't say it."
Posted by: tmace | June 15, 2010 9:09 PM
==
You're joking, aren't you?
This is sarcasm, isn't it?
No?
Who deregulated oil drilling, moron?
Sure the heck wasn't "Slick Willie."

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | June 15, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Last night late, C-Span ran British Prime Minister's question time, the very first for the new prime minister.
He said something I really appreciated.
He said that were things reversed, were this spill occurring off the British coast from a well drilled by an American company, the British would be all over that company demanding complete responsibility for the clean-up and he completely understood the American attitude toward BP.
He made no effort whatsoever to defend British Petroleum.
He made it clear he stood side-by-side with the American president in demanding the company take the full load of responsibility for this disaster.
He said that such a spill was as much a matter of national security as any other assault on the country.
The members of Parliament in chamber at the time rose to agree with him.
I wish President Obama had taken a similarly tough stance tonight.
I didn't get that sense.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | June 15, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Obama ought to use his Community Organizing abilities. I mean, c'mon, that's what his resume leads off with.

Let's see. I need someone to oversee the Oil & Gas Industry. I'll pick a New York lawyer. Genius. Certainly no one in the Oil and Gas Industry would have thought of that.

Who would put in charge of the Nuclear Commission....a preacher?!

Obama is simply the worst President this country has ever seen.

I pine for the days of Slick Willie. This would not be happening under W. You know it. And I know it. But you can't say it.

Posted by: tmace | June 15, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

One thing about lawyers, they can read and remember what they read.
Apparently, Bush appointed one of his golfing buddies.
Today, the other Big Oil companies admitted they all submit the same worn EIS written years ago and pass it around, without altering the text from the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico.
Just change the names, the dates, the project identifying numbers, and go.
They never had to worry whether it would be accepted; MMS filed it without reading it.
The next EIS that's challenged, will be a legal bastion and it will take a lawyer to unravel it.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | June 15, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

I just listened to Obama's speech. The guy is a total idiot.

Posted by: TraderB | June 15, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

I knew it wouldn't take long for some idiot to post "Bush did it". Either Bush makes for a target for the dim wits that fail to realize that the liberal Democrats have been in control of everything, including the oversight of offshore drilling, for the last 4 years. Now we have an attorney in charge of ensuring a highly scientific and engineering oriented business is done in the best interests of the country. Yep, let's just get the trial lawyers involved and that will fix everything - the perfect solution from a Harvard Law school lawyer who hasn't a clue.

Posted by: sonny_sky | June 15, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

How quickly we forget! How quickly the very people who turned their back on responsible, knowledgeable, enforced regulation of the oil industry are able to blame a President; in office just over a year, battling the very Congressmen who allowed G.W. Bush to gut regulation, and make it a bad word! It's time that the entire country get behind this problem, and solve it. Daniel Yergin published a book entitled, "The Prize, the epic quest for oil, money and power", for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. The Bush family has made, over decades, millions of dollars in the oil industry. Is it a mystery that George and George W. would let the industry write their own ticket?

Posted by: insidewa | June 15, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

How quickly we forget! How quickly the very people who turned their back on responsible, knowledgeable, enforced regulation of the oil industry are able to blame a President; in office just over a year, battling the very Congressmen who allowed G.W. Bush to gut regulation, and make it a bad word! It's time that the entire country get behind this problem, and solve it. Daniel Yergin published a book entitled, "The Prize, the epic quest for oil, money and power", for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. The Bush family has made, over decades, millions of dollars in the oil industry. Is it a mystery that George and George W. would let the industry write their own ticket?

Posted by: insidewa | June 15, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

How quickly we forget! How quickly the very people who turned their back on responsible, knowledgeable, enforced regulation of the oil industry are able to blame a President; in office just over a year, battling the very Congressmen who allowed G.W. Bush to gut regulation, and make it a bad word! It's time that the entire country get behind this problem, and solve it. Daniel Yergin published a book entitled, "The Prize, the epic quest for oil, money and power", for which he won a Pulitzer Prize. The Bush family has made, over decades, millions of dollars in the oil industry. Is it a mystery that George and George W. would let the industry write their own ticket?

Posted by: insidewa | June 15, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

screwjob16 wrote:

When the Texas Oil Man was in office the Gulf oil was being pumped safely and efficiently with no drilling accidents like this.

--

This is because of the high quality of people Bush appointed to Interior and MMS.

Bush's Interior Secretary was Gail Norton who is a lawyer and became legal adviser for Shell as soon as she left office. "The Justice Department is investigating whether former Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton illegally used her position to benefit Royal Dutch Shell PLC, the company that later hired her, according to officials in federal law enforcement and the Interior Department."
LA Times, 09-17-09

The head of MMS appointed by Bush was a lawyer named Randall Luthi whose main qualification is that he had been a Republican member of the Wyoming House of Representatives for twelve years prior to his appointment. He became head of a group advocating deregulation of the oil industry when he left office.

Posted by: twm1 | June 15, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

It's always assumed that a lawyer can do anything.

The MMS scandal is bipartisan. Obama has been President for 17 months and didn't address it until we had this major crisis.

In addition to a lawyer being able to do anything, this Administration assumes military people can do anything. The military has a very poor record on environmental cleanup but he's appointed people out of military positions for cleanup and restoration.

Obama apologized for suspending deep sea drilling for 6 months. This is not a man with a record favoring moving away from fossil fuels. Also, he has been a strong advocate for coal, the dirtiest fuel, throughout his career, and has not moved away from that.

More evidence that the two establishment parties will not do what is needed. We need to reject them both.

Posted by: BillSamuel | June 15, 2010 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Why was MMS not on site monitoring the capping of the well? What is the Government for, if not to make sure that rogues do not take advantage of the system.

Posted by: TraderB | June 15, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

"Does Mr. Bromwich have any background in minerals, mining, geology, or resource management--or is he just an Liberal lawyer?"

I think the idea here was to stay away from people with experience in all that stuff, because 1) obviously those with experience seem to lack management abilities, and 2) he's trying to stay away from someone with previous ties to the industry (which is where they would have gotten that experience). This guy has experience in cleaning up messes, which is what the agency needs at this particular time.

Posted by: apmarina | June 15, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Golly Gee. Putting another lawyer in charge is just what we need. Next time you have a leak, call your lawyer, instead of Joe, the Plumber.

Posted by: TraderB | June 15, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Just what we need! More money stolen from our children and grandchildren to pay for another "progressive" who will help Obama enslave us and destroy our country!

Posted by: AntonioSosa | June 15, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

screwjob16 wrote:

When the Texas Oil Man was in office the Gulf oil was being pumped safely and efficiently with no drilling accidents like this.

Barry the incompetent boob Obama issued drilling permits WITHOUT SAFETY INSPECTIONS. If after 16 months in office, Barry the inept bungler still does not control his own MMS which is part of his administration, that just shows what an utter, dismal failure Obama is.

Miserable failure Obama

]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]

excellent point

obama should have called bush up when the oil kept leaking

but obama even declined help from the danish govt who have state of the art oil retrievers

obama--stuck on stupid

Posted by: ProCounsel | June 15, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse


When the Texas Oil Man was in office the Gulf oil was being pumped safely and efficiently with no drilling accidents like this.

Barry the incompetent boob Obama issued drilling permits WITHOUT SAFETY INSPECTIONS. If after 16 months in office, Barry the inept bungler still does not control his own MMS which is part of his administration, that just shows what an utter, dismal failure Obama is.

Miserable failure Obama

Posted by: screwjob16 | June 15, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

It isn't just the conflict of interest problem.

It is mainly a management problem--dealing with the bureaucratic slothfulness and lack of accountability. Civil and even criminal penalties for that should be considered for the people who were asleep but collected their federal pay and benefits while doing nothing to stop this madness.

Dealing with BP is another, simpler matter.

Salazar totally was asleep at the switch and only woke up about MMS when the spill happened. He needs to be fired.

Posted by: axolotl | June 15, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

pssstt.......media allstars

tonight after obama gives another wearisome speech

casually ask if the the obama regime

reviewed

the $75 million dollar damage cap

when

the obama regime endorsed offshore drilling

remember that??


or ask if not why didn't the obama regime review the damage cap

see-- when you kick pigs away from the federal trough

they squeal...........

Posted by: ProCounsel | June 15, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

55 days and bimbo itis. We don't need a new haed of department. We We need 100-200 inspectors and whatever GONE before day 10. They signed the inspections an waivers. two days to get the list of names and that is with an extended lunch break. Send in the feds and have them clear out their desks. NO severence and NO two weeks. That is what an executive does. Nothing less. I had so much hope for Obama but he is losing his presidency like extended Chinese water torture. it is sad really.

Posted by: Modeldon_9 | June 15, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Heads better roll over there and root out all of those embedded Bushies.

Posted by: vztownes | June 15, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

55 days and bimbo itis. We don't need a new haed of department. We We need 100-200 inspectors and whatever GONE before day 10. They signed the inspections an waivers. two days to get the list of names and that is with an extended lunch break. Send in the feds and have them clear out their desks. NO severence and NO two weeks. That is what an executive does. Nothing less. I had so much hope for Obama but he is losing his presidency like extended Chinese water torture. it is sad really.

Posted by: Modeldon_9 | June 15, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Apparently Bromwich has IG and troubleshooting experience that is too rare in ho-hum bureaucracies. Wish him well.

Any chance of a more complete bio/

Posted by: BeauDarq | June 15, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

All Current Drillers should be required to drill secondary relief wells. It's Crazy to allow Current Drillers to not have Secondary Relief Wells and potentially create a Duplicate Disaster.

Oil Companies Must Get Insurance to prove their Drilling Safety preparation. Let private Insurance Companies bring the power of Private Industry to help insure safe operations.

Remove BP from Cleanup Operation! They are the Criminals!! The USA should hire Private Companies to do it and Bill all Expenses to BP.

We Must Immediately Require and Enforce:

* Require Secondary Relief Wells for all Current and Future Deep Sea Drilling. It's Crazy to allow Current Drillers to not have Secondary Relief Wells and potentially create a Duplicate Disaster.

* Require Current Drillers to be subject to new Insurance and Safety Regulation Requirements (& Frequent Inspections to Verify compliance and well maintained 450 Ton Blow-Out Preventers (BOP), Storage Tanks leak checks, and Pipeline Cleaning and Corrosion checks.

* Require Remote Acoustic Triggers for Shut Off Valves,

* Require Drillers to be Insured for Worst case Scenario ($100 Billion ~ $500 Billion depending on Risk).

* Raise the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund supported by industry fees from $1 Billion to $500 Billion.

* End the Billions in Tax breaks for Oil Companies and end all fossil-fuel subsidies.

Posted by: liveride | June 15, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Just remember, when the going gets tough, the tough go golfing.

Posted by: FergieTD | June 15, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

"He has no experience with oil and gas issues."

None of his department heads have any experience.

Posted by: 0441 | June 15, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Socialism indeed. How's that 8 years of de-regulatory philosophy at the federal level under Bush working out for ya?

Posted by: poncedeleroy | June 15, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Judging by the past appointments that Obama has made, the prime consideration seems to be just like his; No expertise in the area being dealt with, no common sense, and no ability to apply logical reasoning. His appointments sound more and more like Bush's FEMA buddy. If any one in the chain of command had any sense, they would have taken the offer by the Dutch government to help out with the spill. There just isn't any fix for "plain stupid".

Posted by: viper1 | June 15, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Fried Frank's probably SOUNDS more like "freed" Frank's. That's just a guess. At any rate, Bush set in motion a non-oversight agenda, Obama just let it continue even with somebody new hired about a year ago - that's his mistake.

Posted by: fbutler1 | June 15, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Does Mr. Bromwich have any background in minerals, mining, geology, or resource management--or is he just an Liberal lawyer?

Posted by: FergieTD | June 15, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse


A professional lawyer-crat for the highly technical engineering position......PERFECT CHOICE!

Much better than the previous highly qualified Scientist, POLITICAL Science that is, who was NOTHING but a BAG-MAN for the DemonRAT Party.

This new BAG-MAN will be armed with the knowledge and smarts to be able to distinguish between simple Chicago 'vigorish' and an illegal bribe.

Our Nation is saved.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Posted by: notinsc | June 15, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

**He has little past experience with oil and gas issues.**

Typical of this Administration to put an amateur in that position.

Posted by: ooyah32 | June 15, 2010 5:36 PM | Report abuse

No doubt yet another political appointee. I think that's the only qualification Obama looks for. Heaven forbid he choose someone with an appropriate background. He'll keep his fingers crossed, though.

Posted by: jfrykman | June 15, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I prefer my franks grilled, not fried.

Posted by: JakeD3 | June 15, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

It appears that Obama is setting his administration for a Clinton takeover!

Posted by: imaginemore | June 15, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

"Fried Frank's" sounds like a diner.

Posted by: dkp01 | June 15, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse


Barry the incompetent boob Obama owned the Minerals Management Service last year, Barry owned it last month, and Barry the inept bungler owns it today.

Barry the incompetent boob of a boob issued drilling permits WITHOUT SAFETY INSPECTIONS resulting in a deadly explosion that killed 11 men, and the biggest environmental disaster in history. Barry owns the problem.

Miserable failure Obama

Posted by: screwjob16 | June 15, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

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