update: Ken Salazar is now reporting, contradicting White House confirmation that she was fired, that she resigned. Salazar said she "did it on her own terms and volition."
update at 1:57 PM EST: at his Louisiana conference, President Obama stated that he'd learned of her resignation today.
OEN has been calling for removing all the people who were Bush political appointees in MMS, NOAA and other protective agencies. This should be the beginning of a major purge. Birnbaum is just the tip of the iceberg-- an iceberg that should have been eliminated long ago.
It is not clear, from her bio, that Birnbaum was connected to the oil industry, and apparently, she was promoted to her job under Obama. It is clear that under her direction, MMS has failed to do its job protecting the US from Oil or Coal companies. Obama has called for performance evaluation of teachers. He should apply the same approach to agency administrators.
It is sad that she was not fired. She should not have been allowed to resign.
Before it is removed, here is her bio on the MMS website:
S. Elizabeth (Liz) Birnbaum assumed duties as Director of the Minerals Management Service (MMS) on July 15, 2009.
As MMS Director, Birnbaum administers programs that ensure the effective management of renewable energy, such as wind, wave, and ocean current energy; and traditional energy and mineral resources on the nation's Outer Continental Shelf, including the environmentally safe exploration, development, and production of oil and natural gas, as well as the collection and distribution of revenues for minerals developed on federal and American Indian lands.
Before her appointment, she was staff director for the Committee on House Administration, where she oversaw strategy development, budget management and staff activities for the committee that manages legislative branch agencies. From 2001-2007, she was Vice President for Government Affairs and General Counsel for American Rivers, where she directed advocacy programs for the nation's leading river conservation organization.
At the Department of the Interior, Birnbaum was Associate Solicitor for Mineral Resources from 2000 to 2001, supervising and managing a staff of attorneys that provided legal advice, developed regulations and conducted litigation on minerals issues for the Minerals Management Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation.
In addition, she was a special assistant to the Interior Solicitor, from 1999 to 2000, overseeing legal policy on a range of natural resource issues, including mining law, public land management and hydropower licensing. From 1991 to 1999 she was counsel to the House Committee on Natural Resources, where she handled legislative and oversight activities for the Department of the Interior, U.S. Forest Service, and electric power marketing administrations. From 1987 to 1991 she was counsel for the Water Resources Program of the National Wildlife Federation.
Birnbaum has been an officer and member of numerous boards and commissions, including the National Capital Section of the American Water Resources Association; Arlington County Environment and Energy Conservation Commission; and the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section of the District of Columbia Bar.
Birnbaum received her Juris Doctor from Harvard University in 1984 and her A.B. degree, magna cum laude, from Brown University in 1979. She was Editor in Chief of the Harvard Environmental Law Review, Vol. 8.