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Offshore drilling safety chief leaving Obama administration

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

Michael Bromwich, known to Alaskans and others in oil producing states as one of the chief deciders in the Obama administration's offshore drilling team, will be leaving public service at the end of 2011 to pursue a position in the private sector.

The Times-Picayune in New Orleans reports that Bromwich held a "valedictory news conference" Monday in Washington, D.C. to tout his success in reviving fortunes of the offshore drilling sector in the face of backlash surrounding the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Bromwich will spend his remaining days with Interior as an adviser to Secretary Ken Salazar and, according to the Times-Picayune, will likely be succeeded by retiring Coast Guard Rear Adm. James Watson, who was the federal site coordinator for government response during the Deepwater Horizon incident.

Bromwich was in Anchorage earlier this year and, as the Alaska Dispatch reported, he "called out" Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell on allegations that the federal government had imposed a moratorium on offshore oil and gas exploration.

Read more about Bromwich's tenure overseeing national offshore drilling policy at the Times-Picayune.