The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

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

Firing of MMS Head Is Damage Control, Not Real Reform


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."

Friends of the Earth fights for a more healthy and just world. Together we speak truth to power and expose those who endanger the health of people and the planet for corporate profit. We organize to build long-term political power and campaign to change the rules of our economic and political systems that create injustice and destroy nature.

(202) 783-7400