Salazar Calls for Split of Scandal-Ridden MMS

Photo by macten, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/macten/3688317520/">via Flickr</a>.

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While executives from the companies responsible for the Deepwater Horizon rig spill were being grilled by the Senate, Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar laid out a plan to overhaul the beleaguered agency whose failures might have been at the root of the disaster.

Salazar called on Congress to split the Minerals Management Service (MMS), the division of the Department of Interior that oversees oil and gas drilling, into two agencies. One agency would handle collection of royalties from oil and gas production, while the other would be charged with safety and environmental regulation. The plan also calls for expanding the current 30-day environmental and safety review period for exploration plans to 90 days.

The long-standing criticism of the agency has only intensified in recent days as evidence emerged that MMS was still waiving environmental review of offshore development.

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) accused MMS and the oil industry of having “too cozy a relationship” at Tuesday’s hearing on the Gulf spill. Bill Nelson, the Florida Democrat leading the attack on the agency, accused it of “a sorry record, a record of incestuous relationships, of sex parties, pot parties.” “MMS needs to clearly be cleaned up,” Nelson added.

More on the proposed MMS split at Post Carbon.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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