Earlier this week, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement head Michael Bromwich gave a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on his agency’s attempts to stand up a new regulatory regime where offshore drilling is concerned. Bromwich, whose honesty and credibility has been badly damaged by repeated statements which turned out not to be true – as, for example, when he falsely claimed that Gulf oil production is at an all-time high at a congressional hearing or when he claimed that it’s not his agency’s job to issue drilling permits in a meeting with Sen. David Vitter.
According to Bromwich, though, he’s not the problem. The problem is the politicians and lobbyists trying to score points at his expense.
“What was destructive, corrosive and not done in good faith was the sniping from certain public officials and industry trade associations,” he said.
“They claimed, and some continue to assert, that we had imposed a ‘de facto’ moratorium or created a ‘permitorium’ that was blocking the issuance of drilling permits,” Bromwich continued. “Not because the applications had failed to meet all the requirements, which was the fact, but supposedly because we had made politically motivated decisions not to issue them. That could not have been further from the truth, but it was repeated often enough that people who should have known better came to believe it.”
Assumedly, one of those “industry trade associations” Brommie doesn’t like is the Offshore Marine Service Association, whose president Jim Adams has proudly ascended to Bob Lee Swagger status in his criticism of the bearded bureaucrat.
And Adams didn’t disappoint after hearing of Bromwich’s speech.
“Bromwich should spend less time trying to silence public criticism and more time actually approving drilling permits,” he roared.
“At the very least, he should get his story straight. On the one hand, Bromwich says drilling permits are not being delayed. On the other hand, he says Congress is not providing the funding his department needs to approve permits in a timely fashion.
“Which is it?” he asked.
“This bureaucratic double-talk would be laughable if thousands of Gulf workers weren’t sitting idle, or if Americans weren’t paying $4 a gallon for gasoline.
”Americans are fed up with double talk, they’re tired of excuses, and they’re sick of bureaucrats making speeches instead of taking action. Americans can’t afford more permitting delays because they can’t afford $4-a-gallon gasoline.”
Adams isn’t just about invective in his treatment of the BOEMRE director. He’s got some advice to offer…
“There’s a way Bromwich could stop the criticism that seems to bother him so much. He could simply do his job.”