WASHINGTON — The head of the agency overseeing offshore drilling at the time of the BP oil spill says she deeply regrets that the accident occurred when she was in charge.
The comments Wednesday at a hearing of the presidential commission investigating the spill are the first from Elizabeth Birnbaum since she resigned under pressure from her position in May. She headed the Minerals Management Service for 10 months, and was replaced by a former federal prosecutor, Michael R. Brownwich, in June.
Birnbaum also told the panel that she supported the Obama administration’s decision to expand offshore drilling. But when asked if the idea for a moratorium on deepwater drilling originated with her agency, she said that decision was not hers.