May 18, 2010 / 12:30 AM / 10 years ago

Top offshore oil drilling official to resign

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A top U.S. official who oversees offshore oil drilling at the Minerals Management Service will resign on May 31, an Obama administration official said on Monday.

The departure of Chris Oynes, the associate director of offshore energy and minerals management at MMS, comes as a massive oil leak at an offshore rig in the Gulf of Mexico threatens an environmental and economic calamity along with U.S. Gulf Coast.

Oynes was named to his post in 2007, according to the agency’s website.

President Barack Obama said last week that the agency, part of the Interior Department, was too “cozy” with oil companies. The department has announced plans to split MMS to separate its safety inspection functions from its oil royalty duties.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Will Dunham

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