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US Interior Dept renames offshore drilling agency
* Minerals Management Service renamed Bureau of Ocean Energy
* Former Justice Dept Inspector General heads agency
By Ayesha Rascoe
WASHINGTON, June 21 (Reuters) - The U.S. Minerals and Management Service, the troubled regulator that has been blamed for failing to adequately police the drilling industry ahead of the Gulf oil spill, will change its name, the Interior Department said on Monday.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar signed am order renaming the agency the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, or the Bureau of Ocean Energy.
The Obama administration has been overhauling the offshore drilling agency, blamed for not doing enough to prevent the Gulf oil spill disaster.
Plagued by numerous scandals, the agency is being broken up into three separate divisions overseeing royalty collection, energy leasing and safety enforcement. [ID: nN19223644]
In addition to the name change, Salazar on Monday also swore-in former Justice Department Inspector General Michael Bromwich to lead the reorganization effort. [ID:nN16184809]
The department announced last week that Bromwich had been tapped to reform the agency.
"The BP oil spill has underscored the need for stronger oversight of offshore oil and gas operations, more tools and resources for aggressive enforcement, and a more effective structure for the agency that holds companies accountable," Bromwich said in a statement."We will move quickly and responsibly on our reforms."
The former head of MMS, Liz Birnbaum, abruptly resigned last month in the wake of criticism of the agency's lax oversight of the Deepwater Horizon rig and overall offshore drilling. (Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Sofina Mirza-Reid)
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