The Obama administraion moved quickly Friday to fill a vacancy at the top of the troubled Minerals Management Service
-- the agency responsible for policing offshore drilling for oil and gas. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar chose from within, naming Bob Abbey, currently director of the Bureau of Land Management, to succeed Elizabeth Birnbaum, who resigned Thursday after only 11 months on the job, The New York Times
Abbey, who oversees oil and mineral extraction on government-owned lands, has his work cut out for him. Salazar wants to split up the Minerals Management Service so that separate agencies handle leasing and drilling operations, safety and environmental protection, and the collection of royalties. President Obama
and others have criticized the cozy relationship that has existed in the past between MMS and the oil companies it is supposed to regulate.
Abbey is a veteran of government service. He headed the BLM in Nevada during Bill Clinton's
presidency, left government briefly in 2005, but returned to the Interior Department last year, the Times said.