Vitter Meets with BOEMRE Director Bromwich about Drilling Permit Impasse

February 16, 2011

(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter met today with Michael Bromwich, Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (formerly MMS). The two discussed the current drilling permit impasse in the Gulf as well as Vitter’s holds on two Obama administration nominees in light of that impasse: NOAA chief scientist nominee Scott Doney and Dan Ashe, President Obama’s nominee to head the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Department of the Interior.

“I wish my meeting with Director Bromwich was more fruitful. Unfortunately, pretty much all he did was repeat the administration’s talking point that there is no de facto drilling moratorium in the Gulf.

“He also said some things that would make most Louisianians’ heads spin. For example, on top of continuing to claim there is no de facto moratorium, the director told me that it was ‘not his job to issue permits.’ That’s news to most energy-related businesses as well as the thousands of Louisiana employees affected by his agency’s lack of permit approval.

“And the most distressing statement made by Director Bromwich was his claim that there are ‘only six applications for deepwater permits.’ Why? Because Director Bromwich’s agency won’t accept and approve new exploration plans from companies, a requirement before the companies can file new permit applications,” said Vitter.

Vitter also noted with concern that Director Bromwich claimed to have little or no knowledge of the Century Exploration lawsuit or what its potential economic impact could have on both the strength of Louisiana’s economy and the nation’s economy as a whole.

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