Michael R. Bromwich, the former Department of Justice Inspector General who now leads Interior Department reform initiatives to strengthen oversight and policing of offshore oil and gas development, announced that he will establish an investigations and review unit that will help to expedite his oversight, enforcement and re-organization mandates.
"The new unit will provide us the capacity to investigate allegations of misconduct, to provide unified and coordinated monitoring of compliance with laws and regulations, and to respond swiftly to emerging and urgent issues on a Bureau-wide level and in the industry," said Bromwich, who is the director of the newly established Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (Bureau of Ocean Energy). The new Bureau, established by Secretarial Order, replaced the former Minerals Management Service which was responsible for overseeing oil and gas development on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.
"In light of the response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the impending reorganization of Interior's offshore oil and gas management and enforcement missions and the new Bureau's mandate to implement broad reforms, it is critical that we have an internal compliance and investigations team that can act quickly and report directly to me," Bromwich said.
The unit would have the following functions and capabilities.
Investigation of allegations of misconduct. A key component to reforming the Bureau is establishing the ability to promptly respond to allegations or evidence of misconduct by Bureau employees as well as by members of industry. This will empower the Bureau to deal with some of its internal problems swiftly and effectively.
This capacity is intended, and will be designed, as a complement to the work of the Interior Department Inspector General's office. The unit will coordinate with the IG's office on matters it investigates, will pursue investigations with the IG's consent and knowledge, and will advise the IG of the status and results of its investigations. The new team also will be responsible for overseeing and coordinating the Bureau's internal auditing, regulatory oversight and enforcement systems.
Response to high priority issues. The compliance and monitoring unit will provide the Bureau with the ability to respond quickly to emerging issues and major events. The unit will be responsible for swiftly responding to and assessing significant incidents, including spills, accidents, and other matters. The unit will have a role in immediately coordinating and managing the Bureau's response to significant events.
Implementing the re-organization. The planned re-organization will be a major undertaking, conducted under a strict timetable that will involve, among other things, maintaining clear lines of communication among Bureau personnel and outside consultants responsible for implementing the re-organization; coordinating the collection and transfer of significant volumes of data and information; and process management. The team will support project managers in providing centralized planning, coordination, and oversight capacity in connection with the implementation of the re-organization.
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