Offshore Energy Agency Appropriations, FY2020

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January 10, 2020
Offshore Energy Agency Appropriations, FY2020
Three entities in the Department of the Interior (DOI) share
have provided $182.8 million in total budget authority, and
responsibility for managing the nation’s ocean energy
Senate-passed H.R. 3055 contained $193.4 million. Net of
resources, which cover approximately 1.7 billion acres on
offsetting collections, P.L. 116-94 provided $131.6 million
the U.S. outer continental shelf (OCS). The Bureau of
for BOEM, 1% less than requested and 2% more than
Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) administers offshore
enacted for FY2019. The House-passed bill would have
energy leasing and mineral development; the Bureau of
provided $122.8 million as the net appropriation, and the
Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) oversees
Senate-passed bill would have provided $133.4 million.
offshore operational safety and environmental protection;
and the Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR)
BOEM’s appropriations are contained in a single budget
manages public revenues from federally regulated offshore
account, titled Ocean Energy Management. Within this
and onshore energy and natural resource projects. BOEM,
account, the Conventional Energy budget activity ($61.8
BSEE, and ONRR receive appropriations in the annual
million FY2019; $64.1 million FY2020 request; $63.0
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations
million enacted) funds administration of oil and gas leasing,
bill. Issues include determining the aggregate and program-
including the development of forward-looking five-year
level appropriations for each entity and considering related
leasing programs. BOEM had requested additional funding
legislative proposals by the Trump Administration.
to support agency evaluation of proposed sales for its 2019-
2024 program, described by BOEM in its FY2020 budget
P.L. 116-94, enacted on December 20, 2019, contains
request as “the largest number of proposed lease sales in the
FY2020 appropriations for BOEM, BSEE, and ONRR. P.L.
history of the OCS leasing program.”
116-59 and P.L. 116-69 had provided continuing
appropriations at FY2019 levels prior to enactment of P.L.
The Renewable Energy activity ($20.7 million FY2019;
116-94, because appropriations were not enacted by the
$21.3 million FY2020 request; $23.3 million enacted)
start of the fiscal year. In earlier action, on June 25, 2019,
supports BOEM’s management of renewable ocean energy
the House had passed a version of H.R. 3055 with FY2020
resources. Congress provided more funding than BOEM
consolidated appropriations (also see H.Rept. 116-100 on
requested and stated in the joint explanatory statement for
H.R. 3052, an earlier stand-alone House bill). On October
P.L. 116-94 that the increase was for additional offshore
31, 2019, the Senate passed its version of H.R. 3055 (also
wind permitting and environmental staff.
see S.Rept. 116-123 on S. 2580, a stand-alone Senate bill).
The Environmental Assessment activity ($79.8 million
Total budget authority for BOEM’s and BSEE’s operations
FY2019; $85.1 million FY2020 request; $82.5 million
includes both discretionary appropriations and offsetting
enacted) supports BOEM’s responsibilities for assessing the
collections derived from a portion of OCS rental receipts,
environmental impacts of ocean energy activities to inform
cost recovery fees, and (for BSEE) inspection fees. The
planning and policy decisions. BOEM stated that its
discretionary appropriation for each fiscal year is reduced
requested funding increase would primarily support
by the amount of eligible receipts and fees that are
environmental studies for the 2019-2024 leasing program.
collected, so that the final amount appropriated to each
agency is the net of those collections. Discussions of
The Executive Direction activity ($17.0 million FY2019;
account- and activity-level funding in the sections below
$17.1 million FY2020 requested and enacted) covers
refer to total budget authority, regardless of offsets.
leadership, budgeting, technology, and related activities. In
ONRR’s funding does not include offsetting collections.
its budget request, BOEM proposed redirecting some funds
to support “leasing efforts in the field.”
BOEM Appropriations
The Trump Administration requested $193.4 million in total
Also in FY2020, appropriators provided funding through a
budget authority for BOEM for FY2020. This represented
new BOEM budget activity titled Marine Minerals ($5.7
an increase of 8% over the total FY2019 budget authority of
million requested and enacted). BOEM proposed the new
$179.3 million in P.L. 116-6 (Consolidated Appropriations
budget activity to support work on offshore non-energy
Act, 2019). Net of estimated offsetting collections, the
minerals, particularly sand and gravel, and to assess the
FY2020 request was $133.4 million, 3% more than the net
supply of critical minerals on the OCS.
appropriation of $129.5 million for BOEM in P.L. 116-6.
BSEE Appropriations
P.L. 116-94 provided $191.6 million in total budget
The Administration requested $200.5 million in total budget
authority for BOEM, 7% more than the FY2019 total
authority for BSEE for FY2020, a decrease of 1% from the
budget authority and 1% less than requested by the
FY2019 total budget authority of $202.1 million in P.L.
Administration (Table 1). House-passed H.R. 3055 would
116-6. The requested net appropriation after offsetting

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collections was $131.0 million, 4% less than the FY2019
net appropriation of $136.3 million in P.L. 116-6.
Table 1. BOEM, BSEE, and ONRR Appropriations, FY2019 and FY2020
($ millions)
FY2019 Enacted
House-Passed Senate-Passed
% Change
(P.L. 116-6) FY2020 Request
H.R. 3055
H.R. 3055
P.L. 116-94
BOEM Total Budget Authority
BOEM Net Appropriation
BSEE Total Budget Authority
BSEE Net Appropriation
ONRR Total Appropriation
Sources: H.Rept. 116-9; H.Rept. 116-100; S.Rept. 116-123; and joint explanatory statement for P.L. 116-94.
Notes: Net appropriations reflect estimated reductions to the discretionary appropriation based on offsetting collections.
P.L. 116-94 provided BSEE with total FY2020 budget
The second BSEE account, Oil Spill Research ($14.9
authority of $202.9 million, 1% more than the request and
million FY2019; $12.7 million FY2020 request; $14.9
nearly even (increase of less than 1%) with the FY2019
million enacted), funds research and planning for oil spill
total budget authority (Table 1). The House-passed bill
responses and supports Ohmsett, the National Oil Spill
would have provided $207.7 million and the Senate-passed
Response Research and Renewable Energy Test Facility.
bill $202.2 million in total budget authority. Net of
The Administration had requested a funding decrease for
offsetting collections, the final appropriation was $133.4
research activities, but the FY2020 appropriation contained
million, 2% more than the request and 2% less than
level funding with FY2019.
FY2019. The net appropriation in the House-passed bill
was $135.7 million, and the net appropriation in the Senate-
ONRR Appropriations
passed bill was $135.2 million.
ONRR, which manages revenues from both offshore and
onshore energy activities on federal and Indian lands, is
BSEE’s funding is appropriated under two budget accounts,
funded within the broader appropriation for DOI’s
Offshore Safety and Environmental Enforcement (OSEE)
Department-Wide Programs. For FY2020, the Trump
and Oil Spill Research. Under the OSEE account, the
Administration requested $147.3 million for ONRR, an
Operations, Safety, and Regulation activity ($146.3
increase of 7% over the FY2019 funding of $137.5 million.
million FY2019; $151.8 million FY2020 requested and
P.L. 116-94 provided the requested amount of $147.3
enacted) supports BSEE’s development of regulations and
million (Table 1), as had both the House-passed and
safety standards, review and approval of OCS operating
Senate-passed bills. DOI stated that the increase would
permits, inspections of facilities and equipment, and
allow ONRR to expand audit and compliance activities and
oversight of operator safety programs, among other
to begin a multiyear effort to modernize its core revenue
activities. BSEE requested additional funding to expand its
management system.
Risk-Based Inspection program, which focuses inspection
resources on higher-risk facilities.
Legislative Proposals
DOI budget submissions typically include some legislative
The Environmental Enforcement activity ($4.7 million
proposals, such as those to establish new authorities or
FY2019; $4.8 million FY2020 requested and enacted)
reauthorize expiring laws. Congressional action, if any, on
supports BSEE’s compliance with environmental statutes
such proposals might take place outside of the annual
and its oversight and enforcement of environmental
appropriations process. As part of its FY2020 DOI budget
compliance by operators on the OCS. BSEE stated that
submission, the Trump Administration included a
FY2020 funding would be used to improve the agency’s
legislative proposal pertaining to offshore energy revenues.
safety and environmental compliance processes, including
It seeks to direct that certain offshore (and onshore) energy
by focusing on areas of greatest risk and by shortening
revenues be deposited in a Public Lands Infrastructure Fund
review timelines.
to address deferred maintenance needs of federal land
management agencies and Bureau of Indian Education-
The activities for Administrative Operations ($18.1 million
funded schools. In the 116th Congress, H.R. 1225 and S.
FY2019; $18.2 million FY2020 requested and enacted) and
500, among other bills, would implement similar proposals.
Executive Direction ($18.1 million FY2019; $18.1 million
For more information, see CRS In Focus IF10987,
FY2020 requested and enacted) support a range of
Legislative Proposals for a National Park Service Deferred
administrative services as well as BSEE’s executive offices.
Maintenance Fund.
BSEE stated that FY2020 funding would allow the agency
to continue to establish best practices, enhance efficiencies,
For Additional Reading
and improve knowledge sharing and collaboration in these
For a broader overview of FY2020 Interior appropriations,
see CRS Report R45875, Interior, Environment, and
Related Agencies: Overview of FY2020 Appropriations

Offshore Energy Agency Appropriations, FY2020

Laura B. Comay, Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

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