June 15th, 2010
05:25 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama names new top drilling regulator

President Barack Obama on Tuesday appointed Michael Bromwich as the new head of a reorganized federal effort to regulate offshore oil drilling.
President Barack Obama on Tuesday appointed Michael Bromwich as the new head of a reorganized federal effort to regulate offshore oil drilling.

Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama on Tuesday appointed Michael Bromwich, a former Justice Department watchdog in the Clinton administration, as the new head of a reorganized federal effort to regulate offshore oil drilling.

A White House statement said Bromwich would "lead the effort to reform the Minerals Management Service," an Interior Department agency accused of corrupt practices and poor oversight of offshore drilling in the run-up to the Gulf oil disaster.

"For a decade or more, the cozy relationship between the oil companies and the federal agency was allowed to go unchecked," Obama said in a White House statement. "That allowed drilling permits to be issued in exchange not for safety plans, but assurances of safety from oil companies. That cannot and will not happen anymore."

According to the statement, Bromwich will develop plans "for a new oversight structure, replacing long-standing, inadequate practices with a gold-standard approach for environmental and safety regulation."

"He has a mandate to implement far-reaching change and will have the resources to accomplish that change," the statement said.
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Filed under: Energy • MMS • Obama administration
May 29th, 2010
01:45 PM ET
5 years ago

Troubled agency gets acting director

An acting director has replaced Elizabeth Birnbaum as head of the Minerals Management Service.
An acting director has replaced Elizabeth Birnbaum as head of the Minerals Management Service.

(CNN) – An acting director was settling into the top job Saturday at the troubled Minerals Management Service, which is involved in federal oversight of offshore oil drilling.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Bob Abbey would become acting director even as he retains his role as director of the federal Bureau of Land Management.

The previous director, Elizabeth Birnbaum, resigned Thursday, Salazar said. Two sources told CNN that she was fired.

"Bob Abbey's recent leadership on onshore energy reforms is exactly the kind of experience we need as we continue to reform and begin to restructure" the service, Salazar said in a statement. "I appreciate Bob's willingness to help tackle this crisis in the Gulf."

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Filed under: MMS