Interior Department to restructure offshore rig safety oversight

May 13, 2010

To improve safety oversight of offshore oil rigs, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the restructuring of the Minerals Management Service.

The move follows the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig off the coast of Louisiana. Eleven workers were presumed dead at deadline, and the resultant oil spill from the blast has caused one of the worst sea-based environmental disasters in decades.

MMS previously was in charge of inspections, investigations and enforcement operations, as well as leasing, permits and revenue collection. According to Salazar's announcement on Tuesday, the agency will be restructured to establish a separate and independent safety and environmental enforcement entity.