Minerals Management Service Director Resigns

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Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the head of the troubled agency that oversees offshore drilling has resigned.

Salazar announced the news Thursday at a congressional hearing where Minerals Management Service Director Elizabeth Birnbaum was scheduled to testify, according to AP. She did not appear.

Birnbaum and her agency have endured scathing criticism in the weeks since the Gulf oil spill over alleged lax oversight of drilling and what President Barack Obama has called an overly cozy relationship with industry.

Her departure came just hours before a news conference where Obama plans to address the spill and announce new safety protocols and an extension of a deepwater drilling moratorium.

© 2010, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.

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