Salazar details separation of Interior's drilling functions

The restructuring essentially splits the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) — which replaced the Minerals Management Service in the aftermath of the Gulf oil spill — into two independent parts.

The first, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, will be charged with issuing offshore drilling leases and overseeing five-year drilling plans, among other things. The second, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, will be in charge of enforcing a slew of new safety regulations imposed by the Interior Department after the spill. The department’s revenue collection function has already been separated out. 

BOEMRE Director Michael Bromwich will oversee the separation of the bureaus.

Salazar first announced the concept of separating the former Minerals Management Service into three independent agencies in May. The announcement Tuesday formalizes that function.

Salazar notably did not incorporate the national oil spill commission's major recommendations, which include imposing a fixed term limit on the director of the new bureaus. Salazar said many of the recommendations require congressional approval.

"We will work closely with the commission and with Congress," Salazar said.

Bromwich added that he is looking closely at the commission's recommendations. "We are by no means foreclosing the possibility that down the road we may move to the model that the commission recommended," he said.

This story was updated at 11:20 a.m.