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Safe energy production key, director says

  |   Nov. 15, 2011 at 10:23 AM
WASHINGTON, Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Moving forward with oil and gas development safely is vital to regional energy security, the new director of U.S. safety and environmental enforcement said.

The U.S. Interior Department announced that, starting Dec. 1, U.S. Coast Guard Adm. James Watson takes the helm at the new Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.

The BSEE is tasked with enforcing the safety and environmental aspects of oil and natural gas development on the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf.

"The safe and responsible production of oil and gas from our nation's oceans is vital to our energy security," said Watson in a statement. The Interior Department said it was holding new leases for oil and natural gas deposits on the OCS as part of a five-year plan.

Watson takes over from Michael Bromwich, who oversaw restructuring of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation Enforcement. The agency was split in two, with Bromwich serving as the interim head of the new BSEE.

Tommy Beaudreau, a top Bromwich adviser, took the helm of the new Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in October.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar split the former Minerals Management Services into three oversight departments because of conflicts of interest following last year's oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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