BOEM Announces Dr. Alan D. Thornhill As First-Ever Chief Environmental Officer

Release Date
Washington, DC

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Tommy P. Beaudreau today announced the selection of Alan D. Thornhill, Ph.D., to serve as the bureau's Chief Environmental Officer.

"This position is a centerpiece of BOEM's reorganization, and in this new role Dr. Thornhill will have a prominent role in setting the scientific agenda concerning the nation's oceans and in developing the science that informs offshore energy decisions," said Director Beaudreau. "Science-based decision making within BOEM is central to our mission. I will look to Dr. Thornhill to provide strategic guidance on scientific research, environmental analysis and environmental protection relating to the development of offshore energy resources."

"BOEM is responsible for world-class research being conducted and directed by bureau scientists, and we are ensuring that rigorous scientific information and analysis is given appropriate weight in the decision-making process," said Dr. Thornhill. "I'm pleased to be part of the efforts to promote the role of science in this new bureau."

The position of Chief Environmental Officer position was established in BOEM as part of the Interior Department's structural reform of offshore energy oversight and is designed to advance applied science in offshore energy and to ensure decision-making is based on sound research and information.

In this position, Dr. Thornhill is responsible for directing BOEM's programs for studying the offshore environmental issues necessary to support responsible decision-making about resource development, managing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process, and developing national priorities for scientific research relating to the oceans.

Dr. Thornhill joined BOEM in March 2010 to serve as science advisor to the director and was the leading author of the Department of the Interior's Scientific Integrity Policy. Prior to his federal service, he spent more than 20 years in the scientific and conservation communities, most recently as executive director for the Society for Conservation Biology. Dr. Thornhill’s bio is available online at:

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) manages the exploration and development of the nation's offshore resources. The Bureau seeks to balance economic development, energy independence, and environmental protection through oil and gas leases, renewable energy development and environmental reviews and studies.