There's nothing wrong with an Obama administration plan to restructure the Minerals Management Service, the federal agency that regulates offshore oil drilling. But it will take a lot more than that to assure the nation that the regulators are being truly vigilant in watching the regulated.

Developments in the catastrophic Gulf of Mexico oil spill moved forward on two fronts yesterday: One was congressional testimony by BP and other companies involved in the disaster. Corporate fingers of blame pointed sharply at each other. So it's clear that Congress will have its hands full trying to figure out how culpable each of the companies was.

The second was an announcement by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that the administration wants to split MMS into two parts: one to handle leases and collect royalties, and the other to make sure oil and gas rigs are operating safely. Congress should go along with his request for $29 million more for enforcement and his proposal to change a congressionally mandated deadline to give MMS more time to look closely at exploration plans from industry.

Above all, Congress must deal with the too-close relationship between regulators and their former colleagues in industry. MMS is not the only agency with this problem, but it is a nasty example. A 2008 inspector general report found regulator-regulated coziness amounting to "a culture of ethical failure." That needs as much cleanup as the oil spill. hN