Walter Cruickshank, deputy director of the Department of Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS), was tapped to take over the top spot to replace Johnnie Burton, who resigned last month (see Daily GPI, May 9).

Cruickshank, a Maryland native, took the MMS reins on Friday following his appointment by Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne. Cruickshank has been the MMS deputy director since 2002 and has worked for the agency for more than 20 years. He holds an undergraduate degree from Cornell University and a doctorate from Pennsylvania State University.

Burton resigned following months of criticism from members of Congress concerning problems in its offshore leasing program. The problems allegedly occurred before Burton took the MMS helm in 2002; she was accused of not being aggressive enough in collecting all of the oil and gas royalties due to the government from offshore leases (see Daily GPI, March 29; Feb. 28). She said she was planning to return to Wyoming.

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