For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Kelly Trout, 202-222-0722,
Nick Berning, 202-222-0748,

Firing of MMS Head Is Damage Control, Not Real Reform

WASHINGTON - Friends of the Earth's president, Erich Pica, had the following response to an Associated Press report that President Obama has fired Elizabeth Birnbaum, the head of the U.S. Minerals Management Service:

"This is a scapegoat firing, not the deep-seated reform that's needed. Ms. Birnbaum inherited an agency crippled by a culture of collusion with the oil industry that permeated at all levels. A drastic overhaul of not just MMS, but the Department of the Interior is needed to make sure that the catastrophic regulatory failures that fueled the Gulf Drilling Disaster are not repeated. President Obama and Secretary Salazar need to commit to more than superficial actions to truly root out Big Oil's influence in government."


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Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of the world's largest grassroots environmental network, with member groups in 77 countries. Since 1969, Friends of the Earth has fought to create a more healthy, just world.

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