Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has named Abigail Ross Hopper as the Director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which manages the development of our nation’s conventional and renewable energy and marine mineral resources on the Outer Continental Shelf.
Ms. Hopper currently serves as the Director of the Maryland Energy Administration and will assume her new position on January 5, 2015, as the second director in BOEM’s history. Hopper will take the helm from Acting Director Dr. Walter Cruickshank, who has been serving since former Director Tommy Beaudreau became Chief of Staff to Secretary Jewell in May 2014.
“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 as we continue to ensure the safe and responsible development of our domestic energy and mineral resources and stand up an offshore wind program,” said Secretary Jewell. “She is an accomplished professional who brings strategic leadership and long-term vision to the job, and I look forward to having her as a member of our senior leadership team.”
Hopper has led the Maryland Energy Administration since 2012, first as Acting Director and then as Director in June 2013. She also served concurrently as Energy Advisor to Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley since 2010. The Maryland Energy Administration coordinates and directs energy planning for Maryland State agencies, and helps local governments implement programs to reduce energy consumption. It also helps businesses become more competitive by introducing new technologies and developing strategies for emerging competitive energy markets.
As Director, Hopper was pivotal in ensuring the passage of the Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2013. She oversaw programs designed to achieve Maryland’s strategic energy goals, including increasing renewable energy production, reducing energy consumption and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. She presided over the launch of new programs, including Smart Energy Communities, which provides funding to local governments that adopt cutting-edge clean energy policies. Hopper has also focused significant resources on improving the resiliency of the State’s electric utilities in the face of major storms.
As Energy Advisor, Hopper regularly advised the Governor on energy matters and also interfaced with businesses in the energy space, including the State’s utilities. Hopper also coordinated the interaction between the Governor’s Office and both the Maryland Public Service Commission and the Maryland Energy Administration.
Hopper previously spent three years as Deputy General Counsel with the Maryland Public Service Commission, during which she advised commissioners on a broad range of legal matters arising from their duties as utility regulators.
Before embarking on a career in public service, Hopper spent nine years in private practice where she specialized in complex merger and investment counseling and corporate law. She represented publicly and privately held companies in connection with mergers and acquisitions, and has counseled numerous venture capital and investment banking firms in connection with multi-million dollar equity offerings. Hopper graduated Cum Laude from the University of Maryland School of Law and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Dartmouth College.
In naming Hopper, Secretary Jewell praised Dr. Cruickshank, who will continue to serve as BOEM’s deputy director, a position he has held since October 2011, when BOEM was established.
“Walter’s institutional knowledge and expertise are invaluable to this Department as we continue to chart a new frontier for offshore wind, and uphold high standards for oil and gas development in waters that belong to all Americans,” said Jewell. “I appreciate Walter’s leadership and commitment to public service.”
With an annual budget of nearly $170 million and 569 employees, BOEM is one of the two agencies to succeed the former Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement on Oct. 1, 2011. The agency’s functions include offshore oil and gas leasing, resource and economic evaluation, review and administration of oil and gas exploration and development plans, renewable energy development, National Environmental Policy Act analysis and environmental studies. More information on BOEM can be found at http://www.boem.gov/About-BOEM/.