Salazar to split MMS into two agencies
By Ed O'Keefe
By The Post's Juliet Eilperin in Post Carbon:
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will announce Tuesday afternoon that he is splitting the embattled Minerals Management Service into two parts, according to an Interior Department official who asked not to be identified.
The plan, which contrary to an Associated Press report does not need congressional approval, will divide MMS into two separate agencies: one with oversight responsibilities for the oil industry and another that would provide drilling leases and collect federal royalties on the operations.
Richard Charter, a senior policy adviser for the advocacy group Defenders of Wildlife, said in an interview that there has always been "an inherent conflict of interest" embedded in the current system, where the same agency inspects oil rigs, probes wrongdoing and enforces safety rules while simultaneously collecting royalties from the companies it oversees.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) had proposed a somewhat similar reform last year, which would have stripped Interior of its management responsibility for MMS and made it an independent agency.
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