Bizunesh “Biz” Scott advised Obama and his cabinet on appointees to various agencies. Before becoming special assistant, she was the chief counsel for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which enforces pipeline-related safety laws for the Department of Transportation.
At the safety administration, Scott managed the negotiation of a $25 million civil penalty against BP Exploration Alaska, Inc. The deal, also brokered by Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency, was the largest per-barrel penalty for an oil spill as of May 2011. Aside from the civil penalty, the company had to establish a management program to ensure the integrity of the pipeline. More than 5,000 barrels of crude oil from the company’s pipeline had spilled onto the Alaska North Slope.
“The focus there was about managing the compliance,” Scott said in an interview. She said that in addition to the penalty, the agency worked to ensure that the local communities and the environment would be protected.
“That’s part of what my expertise will be in advising companies,” Scott said. “It’s about getting the compliance side right.”
Scott said Steptoe’s deep energy practice and its commitment to diversity were two features that attracted her to the firm. She focuses on litigation, regulatory and strategic legal advice work with a focus on pipelines and the transportation of hazardous materials.