Interior secretary to oil industry: Don’t throw regulators under the bus
May 8, 2013 at 3:37 pm by Jennifer A. Dlouhy
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell delivered a blunt message to some of the nation’s top oil industry executives during an inaugural meeting with the group on Wednesday: Don’t cast blame our way.
“I did poke them a little bit about not throwing the regulators under the bus or blaming us when there is actually shared responsibility, perhaps, when something doesn’t move forward,” Jewell said after meeting with the business leaders on the sidelines of the Offshore Technology Conference. “We don’t want to be in the way of development, but we have a job to do protecting the assets of the American people.”
The closed-door gathering included top representatives from oil companies Anadarko, BP and Marathon Oil, as well as contractors FMC Technologies, Halliburton, Transocean and Schlumberger, and the trade groups American Petroleum Institute and National Ocean Industries Association.
Some oil industry leaders have loudly complained about the pace of regulatory changes coming from the nation’s capital and pleaded for a more stable, predictable landscape. And ConocoPhillips cited regulatory uncertainties last month when the company announced it would delay its plans to drill in Arctic waters north of Alaska.
Related story: Offshore operators seek clarity on regulations
But on Wednesday, Jewell said she sensed the executives understood that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement have worked “to be responsive to the needs of industry” even as they craft new rules, some borne from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.
“I did not sense …a reluctance to embrace regulation,” Jewell said. “What they want and what we are committed to provide is regulatory certainty, predictability (and) consistency, recognizing that different circumstances warrant different ways of behaving.”