Bureau of Land Management chief moves to MMS

Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey has been named acting director of the Minerals Management Service. The announcement from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar comes one day after Elizabeth Birnbaum resigned from the top post at MMS amid a swirling controversy about its role in regulating offshore oil and gas drilling.

Salazar in a prepared statement said 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 MMS."

Abbey will be put in charge of managing the announced division of MMS into three bureaus overseeing offshore energy development, safety and environmental enforcement and revenue collection from oil and natural gas development.

He will remain director of BLM but turn over daily management to his deputy, Mike Poole, Salazar said. Abbey was confirmed as BLM director in August. He is returning to Washington from Louisiana after helping Interior's response to the Gulf spill.

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