WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration is proposing to split up an Interior Department agency that oversees offshore drilling.
The Associated Press has learned that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar will urge that the Minerals Management Service be split in two, as part of the administration's response to the Gulf Coast oil spill.
One agency would be charged with inspecting oil rigs, investigating oil companies and enforcing safety regulations, while the other would oversee leases for drilling and collection of billions of dollars in royalties.
The minerals agency has long been accused of being too cozy with the oil and natural gas industry. Some critics say its dual roles collecting royalties and performing oversight are in conflict.