New Director Chosen for Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement

Former Coast Guard Vice Admiral Brian Salerno will take the helm of BSEE on Aug. 26.

Sally Jewell, secretary of the Interior, has selected Brian Salerno as the new director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, which is the federal agency with oversight responsibility for oil and gas operations on the Outer Continental Shelf. Salerno, who was a vice admiral when he retired from the U.S. Coast Guard last year as its deputy commandant for Operations, will start on Aug. 26.

"Brian Salerno is an accomplished professional who brings proven expertise in maritime safety and emergency response management to the job," Jewell said Aug. 19. "As we continue to strengthen the nation's program to ensure safe and responsible offshore oil and gas exploration and development, I believe Brian has the experience, vision, and the leadership to be a great asset to the bureau, the department, and the nation."

Salerno worked mainly in maritime safety, security, environmental protection, and emergency response at the Coast Guard, according to the BSEE news release announcing his appointment. It says he played an important role in the Coast Guard's response to the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion and oil spill and has served as incident commander for responses to several large-scale transportation accidents, oil spills, and hurricanes. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences' Ocean Studies Board that explored industry and government readiness to respond to oil spills in the Arctic Ocean and served on a team that examined interagency relationships among BSEE, the Coast Guard, other government agencies, and the regulated industry. Salerno also is a board member of the North American Marine Environmental Protection Association.

He replaces Jim Watson as BSEE director; the position is not subject to U.S. Senate confirmation.

"I look forward to working with the employees at BSEE on the important work of ensuring that offshore operations are safe, secure, and environmentally sound," Salerno said. "I recognize the great strides that the department has made over the past years and I look forward to continuing that progress, working in close contact with our partners across government and industry."

Watson is staying on through the end of August to ensure a smooth transition. "As the second director of BSEE, Jim has set a high bar as a results-oriented and dedicated public servant who has responsibly enforced safety and environmental protections for offshore oil and gas operations in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster," Jewell said. "I sincerely appreciate his leadership and contributions in advancing our reform agenda for the American people and offshore energy industry."

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