Someone’s head eventually had to roll on account of that nasty oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, in fact it was probably long overdue.
Today, Elizabeth Birnbaum, the head of the agency that oversees offshore drilling, resigned under pressure while, at the same time, President Barack Obama attempted to prove that he was on top of the situation in the Gulf.
Birnbaum’s departure from the Minerals Management Service was announced by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Obama vowed to put the kibosh on the “scandalously close relationship” between regulators and the oil companies that they manage.
Birnbaum was to testify at a congressional hearing today but she never showed up. Her supervisor said she left the government “on her own terms and her own volition.”
Later in the day, Obama extended a freeze on new deep-water drilling and delayed proposed lease sales in the waters off of the states of Alaska and Virginia, and in the Gulf Coast.
In a three-sentence resignation letter, Birnbaum wrote: “As you move forward with the reorganization of Minerals Management Service you will be requiring three new leaders. … I wish you every good fortune in the reorganization of the bureau.”
Oil had been spilling into the Gulf of Mexico ever since the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank last month. BP attempted a “top kill” procedure to stop the spill yesterday and today, which so far seems to have been a success.
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