Bromwich tells coastal governors his door is open

Barely 24 hours after coastal governors announced they were forming a coalition to lobby for energy development in nearby waters, the nation’s top offshore drilling regulator invited them to Washington to chat about the outer continental shelf.

Michael Bromwich, the head of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, suggested a meeting as soon as next week. “As always, my door is open to you, both as individual governors of your states or as a coalition, to discuss offshore energy issues,” Bromwich said in a letter to the four governors who spearheaded the new group.

But it sure doesn’t look like Bromwich thinks the new coalition is necessary for the coastal state leaders to get their views across. After all, Bromwich said — with just a trace of attitude — the ocean energy bureau has long valued “comments and input from the states and other stakeholders regarding offshore energy development.”

He added:

That has been true historically and has especially been true in recent months. For example, I meet on a regular basis with (Louisiana Gov. Bobby) Jindal’s designated representative on offshore issues . . . to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern with . . . the Back to Work Coalition he helped forum. That has been a forum that has been constructive and helpful to industry, Louisiana state officials and the federal government. My hope is that we engage with your coalition in a similarly constructive way.”

The new Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition was designed to “foster an appropriate dialogue between the coastal states and the administration” about offshore energy development. Spearheaded by Rick Perry of Texas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Sean Parnell of Alaska, it is designed to give the governors a new vehicle to lobby for expanded offshore drilling offshore.

In announcing the new group on Monday, the foursome complained that too often the federal government has “taken sweeping actions regarding offshore oil and gas activities with little consultation with the states.”