Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today named Rear Admiral James A. Watson IV as the Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE). BSEE was one of the two agencies to succeed the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) on Oct. 1, 2011. Admiral Watson will begin as BSEE Director on December 1, 2011, and will succeed Michael R. Bromwich.
Admiral Watson is currently the U.S. Coast Guard’s Director of Prevention Policy for Marine Safety, Security and Stewardship in Washington, D.C. He served as the Deputy Commander of the Coast Guard Atlantic Area Command in April 2010, and, on June 1, 2010, was designated as the Federal On-Scene Coordinator for the all-of-government response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Admiral Watson has the experience, leadership, and vision that BSEE needs to be successful in establishing and enforcing safety and environmental protections for offshore oil and gas operations,” said Secretary Salazar. “Admiral Watson will bring to the job a distinguished record, a commitment to tough and fair-minded enforcement, and the determination to advance our reform agenda for the benefit of the American people and industry.”
"The safe and responsible production of oil and gas from our nation's oceans is vital to our energy security," said Admiral Watson. "I look forward to leading the dedicated BSEE professionals to ensure each and every offshore operation is safe, secure, and environmentally sound."
Prior to serving at Atlantic Area Command, Rear Admiral Watson was promoted to Rear Admiral in 2007 as the Director of Prevention Policy for Marine Safety, Security and Stewardship, where he was responsible for Waterways Management, Boating Safety, Commercial Vessel Safety and Security, Ports and Cargo Safety and Security, Maritime Investigations, and Quality Traveling Inspectors.
In naming Admiral Watson, Secretary Salazar praised outgoing director Bromwich, who was brought into the department in June 2010 to serve as director of the then-BOEMRE and to oversee the fundamental restructuring of the agency. Director Bromwich led regulatory and institutional reforms that have significantly strengthened oversight and regulation of offshore oil and gas development. Bromwich will stay on through the month of December as a Counselor to the Secretary to ensure a smooth transition of leadership. He will leave the Department at the end of December.
“With Director Bromwich’s leadership, commitment to public service, and focus on delivering results, we implemented the most significant reforms to offshore oil and gas safety in U.S. history, while continuing to take steps to safely and responsibly expand domestic energy production,” said Secretary Salazar. “I deeply appreciate his enormous contributions and tireless work on behalf of the nation.”
BSEE is responsible for enforcing safety and environmental regulations for oil and gas operations on the Outer Continental Shelf. BSEE’s functions include: permitting and research, inspections, offshore regulatory programs, oil spill response, and newly formed training and environmental compliance functions.