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Drilling Agency Gets New Director Day After Elizabeth Birnbaum Quits

3 years ago
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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 reported.

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.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar
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.

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28 Comments

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pepingatieza2

With Obama, the bucket stops as far away from him as he can make it stop.
Truman most be turning in his grave.

May 29 2010 at 7:06 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
knute9

What is disheartening is everyone in the Mineral Management Service who accepted "Gifts", a.k.a. "Bribes", have not had criminal charges filed against them. Even worse they haven't even been fired, and stripped of the pensions. What if the IRS employees were taking "Gifts" from those they audit? What if the SEC employees were taking "Gifts" from Wall Street firms? What if those who work for Social Security or the FBI started accepting "Gifts". This is a HUGE serious issue that our elected officials aren't really addressing, and the American people have taken notice. The whole entity of our government, not just our elected officials, are now in question. Let's be honest, this epic man made disaster in the end was caused by greed. Showmanship and cover-ups will not distract nor hide the truth.

May 28 2010 at 9:22 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to knute9's comment
Just_Curious

I agree. The MMS employees should be charged. but let's be sure we go further than the first line employees. We need to go up the management ladder for all those that created and tolerated this culture. This investigation should go back to 1980. The oil companies and the regulators should have learned from the ixtoc oil spill, June 13, 1979 in the gulf of Mexico. See the pictures on the NOAA website http://photos.orr.noaa.gov/gallery_4/incidents-28.htm

May 28 2010 at 11:24 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
marktmurphy5

Our Attorney General needs 3 months to not read the case and study where to hold the trial.

May 29 2010 at 6:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rkthompson1329

no experience the magic words in the obama administratiom

May 28 2010 at 8:18 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rkthompson1329's comment
jancf

Automatically Obama's fault again, eh? This problem goes back many years. It actually was exacerbated during the Bush years. People ought to make up their minds...either Obama is trying to tackle too many things at once, make too many changes, or he isn't doing enough to solve the thousands of problems facing us daily.

Perhaps we should be relieved that SOMEONE is overhauling the MMM at last?

May 29 2010 at 3:26 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
rejectsocialism

I thoght she got fired

May 28 2010 at 7:32 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
kwmcguig

The oil companies have the expertise and we should call upon thier engineers to provide fail safe measures to avoid another problem. The government should employee engineers not appointees.

May 28 2010 at 7:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
fletchertimmy

Obama now owns the oil industry too. I'm sure the Rockefeller's are very pleased.

May 28 2010 at 5:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to fletchertimmy's comment
rkthompson1329

no he doesn't it is British that's why he has done nothing if it was american owned he would have taken it over on day 2

May 28 2010 at 8:20 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
beckjr2000

Nothing against Mr. Abbey but based on his Bio he has absolutely no experience with offshore oil and gas. I see that he has extensive Government experience in Administration of Government Land Management and that will surely help with the reorganization. How ever it would help to have someone who knows what they are doing when you oversee Oil & Gas projects.

May 28 2010 at 4:55 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

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