The Interior Department agency manages offshore oil and gas leases.

New Chief Selected for Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

"Abigail Hopper's knowledge of the energy sector, experience working with a wide variety of stakeholders, and her legal expertise will be valuable assets to the bureau and the department as we continue to ensure the safe and responsible development of our domestic energy and mineral resources and stand up an offshore wind program," Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said.

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has appointed Abigail Ross Hopper, currently the director of the Maryland Energy Administration, as the new director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, which manages offshore oil and gas leases and the development of conventional and renewable energy resources. BOEM is one of two agencies, the other being the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, created in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.

Interior's announcement said Hopper will assume her new position on Jan. 5, 2015, as the second director in BOEM's history. She takes over from Acting Director Dr. Walter Cruickshank, who has been serving since former Director Tommy Beaudreau became Jewell's chief of staff in May 2014.

"Abigail Hopper's knowledge of the energy sector, experience working with a wide variety of stakeholders, and her legal expertise will be valuable assets to the bureau and the department as we continue to ensure the safe and responsible development of our domestic energy and mineral resources and stand up an offshore wind program," Jewell said. "She is an accomplished professional who brings strategic leadership and long-term vision to the job, and I look forward to having her as a member of our senior leadership team."

Hopper has headed the Maryland Energy Administration since 2012, first as acting director and then as director in June 2013. She also served concurrently as energy advisor to Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley since 2010. She helped to ensure the passage of the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013.

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