As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Obama Announces Oil Drilling Czar

UPDATE: Bromwich will lead MMS and not work out of the White House. The position apparently requires no Senate confirmation.

From the White House late this afternoon:

Today, President Barack Obama announced his selection of Michael R. Bromwich to lead the Administration’s efforts to accelerate reforms in the regulation and oversight of offshore oil drilling.

Bromwich will lead the effort to reform the Minerals Management Service (MMS), restoring integrity and rigor to the relationship between federal regulatory officials and oil companies.  Bromwich will develop the plans for a new oversight structure, replacing long-standing, inadequate practices with a gold-standard approach for environmental and safety regulation.  He has a mandate to implement far-reaching change and will have the resources to accomplish that change.

Obama suggests in a statement that Bromwich will end “the cozy relationship between the oil companies” and MMS. It seems he will operate out of the White House, since there’s no suggestion of any need for confirmation.

In an 18 minute speech to the nation this evening at 8 pm ET, Obama will discuss his appointment of Bromwich and will advocate for energy and climate legislation, according to senior administration officials who briefed reporters late this afternoon by phone. Republicans are jumping all over Obama for what they say is “exploitation” of the crisis to push for the legislation.

Obama will say in his remarks that the effort by BP to contain the spill should, within the next several weeks, result in the  capture of 90 percent of the oil emerging from the well.

Reporters are having a good chuckle, BTW, over the labeling of the briefers as “senior administration official #1” and “senior administration official #2.” No idea why these people need to be on background.

One reporter addressed “senior administration #1” by name, so it would presumably appear in any transcript that might emerge. And then senior administration #1 referred to senior administration #2 by name. And the White House moderator of the call, I gather acknowledging the ridiculousness of it all, said of senior administration #2, “you can see her on television soon.”

Bromwich has a long history doing internal investigations of companies and agencies, including a half decade as Inspector General at the Department of Justice in the 1990s. You can read the entire White House announcement, including his resume, here.

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