Jewell names Maryland energy administrator BOEM’s new director

US Interior Sec. Sally Jewell appointed Abigail Ross Hopper, who currently directs the Maryland Energy Administration, as the new director of the US 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,” the secretary said in announcing the appointment.

Walter D. Cruickshank, who has been BOEM’s acting director since Tommy Beaudreau became Jewell’s chief of staff in May, will resume his position as the agency’s deputy director, which he has held since BOEM was established in October 2011.

Hopper has led the Maryland Energy Administration, which coordinates and directs energy planning for Maryland State agencies and helps local governments implement programs to reduce energy consumption, since 2012, first as acting director and then as director in June 2013. She also served concurrently as Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s (D) energy advisor since 2010.

She also played a key role in Maryland’s passing offshore wind energy legislation in 2013, and oversaw programs designed to achieve Maryland’s strategic energy goals, including increasing renewable energy production, reducing energy consumption and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Dec. 18 announcement of her BOEM appointment.

National Ocean Industries Association Pres. Randall B. Luthi congratulated Hopper on being named BOEM’s director, but expressed concern that Jewell did not choose someone with a broader range of energy experience.

He conceded Hopper’s experience in renewable energy, particularly offshore wind, gives her valuable experience which will be an asset as BOEM’s own offshore renewable energy program continues to show steady progress.

But Luthi expressed hope that Hopper also will recognize the importance of the country’s offshore oil and gas resources to national security and economic growth, particularly since BOEM is in the midst of developing the 2012-17 oil and gas leasing program.

“We are optimistic she will take her lead from Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Janice Schneider, who has a fair amount of experience working with the industry she is tasked with regulating,” NOIA’s president said. “We look forward to working with Ms. Hopper and helping to expand her knowledge of the entire offshore energy industry, particularly oil and gas exploration and production.”

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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