Adm. Jim Watson (USCG ret.) is the head of BSEE, the new federal agency charged with the safety of offshore oil development in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. He reports directly to Ken Salazar, now the outgoing Secretary of the Interior.
Jim is visiting Seattle because he’s been tasked by Secretary Salazar with conducting a 60-day review of Shell Oil’s recent efforts to initiate exploratory drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas. He’ll be getting status updates on Shell’s efforts to recover from several much publicized equipment mishaps this past summer and fall, both from Shell officials here in Seattle and people in local maritime industries who are familiar with Arctic operations and Shell’s capabilities. This will be Jim’s second visit to campus, during this past summer he met with researchers from APL’s Polar Science Center.
Jim would like to meet with students in an informal session to discuss his agency’s work and the prospects of Arctic oil exploration and development in the coming years. He’d also like to talk about employment opportunities in his agency. He’ll have a couple of others with him, both from his agency and from the USCG, including Capt. John Ladeau, who heads the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Center in Washington, D.C. and who is charged with overseeing the Coast Guard’s participation in the 60-day review.
We’ve reserved a large seminar room in the Marine Sciences Building, MSB 123, 1:30-2:30, Thursday January 31, for this event. This is the building directly on the water at the east end of Boat Street, which abuts the dock where the R/V Thompson, Oceanography’s main research vessel, is docked when in town. You enter from the plaza that is above street level, most easily approached from the east side. Hope to see you there!
Thomas M. Leschine
Rabinowitz Professor of Human Dimensions of the Environment
School of Marine and Environmental Affairs
University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195