It doesn’t happen often that we say nice things about her. But Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) did a hell of a job Tuesday in tearing up BOEMRE director Michael Bromwich at a Senate hearing on offshore drilling.
Here’s the video of Landrieu having a go at Bromwich after he spouted off about how busy his agency has been in permitting offshore oil wells – she exposes the fact that of the 14 permits BOEMRE has issued only one of them is actually a new well rather than one that was already being worked prior to the Deepwater Horizon incident.
The 14 permits BOEMRE is bragging about make for something of a problem for Louisiana’s other senator, Republican David Vitter. Vitter has a hold on Dan Ashe, President Obama’s nominee to head the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Department of the Interior, which he put in place late last year in an effort to force an end to the moratorium/permitorium on offshore drilling. The condition Vitter laid down for lifting that hold was for BOEMRE to issue 15 permits for deepwater wells, but so far the majority of what the agency is counting toward that 15 is essentially maintenance-type work or new wells on existing properties rather than new exploration – meaning that with one more permit BOEMRE will have satisfied Vitter’s requirement without really doing anything to increase domestic production or put the offshore oil patch back to work.
This frustration didn’t escape Offshore Marine Service Association head Jim Adams’ attention. Yesterday Adams issued this statement:
“We should all be worried that the lead regulator of offshore drilling, Mr. Bromwich, is confused as to the number of new exploratory wells permitted by his agency,” said Jim Adams, president and CEO of Offshore Marine Service Association. “Is it that difficult to remember ‘one’?”
Prior Senator Landrieu’s pressing questions, Mr. Bromwich told lawmakers that, ““We’ve actually permitted  unique deepwater wells on the average of about once every four to five business days. That’s not a significantly slower pace than has historically been the case.”
“How does he sleep at night?” said Adams.