Obama Picks New Head of Oil Regulation Agency

President Obama over the Oil Spill disaster, Friday May 28, 2010. AP / CBS

Updated at 5:24 p.m. ET

President Obama has selected a new leader for the troubled federal agency that oversees oil and gas development and has been accused of lax oversight and conflicts of interest.

The White House announced Tuesday that a former assistant U.S. attorney and Justice Department inspector general, Michael Bromwich, will lead a planned reorganization of the Minerals Management Service. The administration wants to break the MMS into three separate entities to eliminate conflicts of interest.

The White House said Bromwich would have a mandate to implement far-reaching changes and the resources to do it.

The news came Tuesday as Mr. Obama moved on several fronts to show control of the catastrophe in the Gulf.

The White House is getting ready to provide updated information, based on government measurements, on the volume of oil gushing from BP's well in the Gulf of Mexico, the official said. Amounts have been unclear since BP's leased Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded April 20, and estimates have been repeatedly increased.

Last month, Elizabeth Birnbaum stepped down as director of the Minerals Management Service, a job she had held since July. Her agency has been accused of lax oversight of drilling and cozy ties with industry.

Mr. Obama returned Tuesday afternoon from a two-day tour of the Gulf and planned to address the nation Tuesday evening. On Wednesday he holds his first meeting with BP executives.


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