Offshore Energy Agency Appropriations, FY2021

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February 1, 2021
Offshore Energy Agency Appropriations, FY2021
Three entities in the Department of the Interior (DOI) share
provided $186.8 million in total budget authority, and the
responsibility for managing the nation’s ocean energy
Senate committee draft contained $197.8 million. Net of
resources on almost 2.5 billion acres of the U.S. outer
offsetting collections, P.L. 116-260 provided $127.8 million
continental shelf (OCS). The Bureau of Ocean Energy
for BOEM, 2% more than requested and 3% less than
Management (BOEM) administers offshore energy leasing
enacted for FY2020. This includes a $2.0 million rescission
and mineral development, the Bureau of Safety and
of unobligated prior-year funds. The House-passed bill
Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) oversees offshore
would have provided a net appropriation of $121.8 million;
operational safety and environmental protection, and the
the Senate-passed bill would have provided $134.8 million.
Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) manages
public revenues from federally regulated offshore and
BOEM’s appropriations are contained in a single budget
onshore energy and natural resource projects. BOEM,
account, titled Ocean Energy Management. Within this
BSEE, and ONRR receive appropriations in the annual
account, the Conventional Energy budget activity ($63.0
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations
million FY2020; $60.5 million FY2021 requested and
bill. Issues include determining the aggregate and program-
enacted) funds administration of oil and gas leasing,
level appropriations for each entity and considering related
including the development of forward-looking five-year
legislative proposals by the Administration.
leasing programs. BOEM had sought a funding reduction,
because preparation of its National OCS Oil and Gas
P.L. 116-260, enacted on December 27, 2020, contained
Leasing Program for 2019-2024 was put on hold.
FY2021 appropriations for BOEM, BSEE, and ONRR.
Several continuing resolutions had provided appropriations
The Renewable Energy activity ($23.3 million FY2020;
at FY2020 levels prior to enactment of P.L. 116-260,
$26.5 million FY2021 request; $28.5 million enacted)
because appropriations were not enacted by the start of the
supports BOEM’s management of renewable ocean energy
fiscal year. In earlier action, on July 24, 2020, the House
resources. Congress provided more funding than BOEM
passed H.R. 7608 with FY2021 consolidated appropriations
requested and stated in the joint explanatory statement for
(also see H.Rept. 116-448 on H.R. 7612, an earlier stand-
P.L. 116-260 that the increase was to “improve” BOEM’s
alone House bill). On November 10, 2020, the Senate
offshore wind permit processing capacity.
Committee on Appropriations released a draft Interior
appropriations bill and explanatory statement.
The Environmental Assessment activity ($82.5 million
FY2020; $75.9 million FY2021 requested and enacted)
Total budget authority for BOEM and BSEE includes both
supports BOEM’s responsibilities for assessing the
discretionary appropriations and offsetting collections
environmental impacts of ocean energy activities to inform
derived from a portion of OCS rental receipts, cost-
planning and policy decisions. BOEM requested increased
recovery fees, and (for BSEE) inspection fees. The
funding for its Environmental Studies Program but reduced
discretionary appropriation for each fiscal year is reduced
funds for the 2019-2024 leasing program that was on hold.
by the amount of eligible receipts and fees that are
collected, so that the final amount appropriated to each
The Marine Minerals activity ($5.7 million FY2020; $8.8
agency is the net of those collections. Discussions of
million FY2021 request; $10.8 million enacted) supports
account- and activity-level funding in the sections below
BOEM’s management of offshore non-energy minerals,
refer to total budget authority, regardless of offsets.
particularly sand and gravel, and BOEM’s assessment of
ONRR’s funding does not include offsetting collections.
the supply of critical minerals on the OCS. The joint
explanatory statement for P.L. 116-260 directed that at least
BOEM Appropriations
$2.0 million of the funding increase go to critical mineral
The Trump Administration requested $188.8 million in total
budget authority for BOEM for FY2021. This was a 1%
decrease from the total FY2020 budget authority of $191.6
The Executive Direction activity ($17.1 million FY2020;
million provided in P.L. 116-94. Net of estimated offsetting
$17.2 million FY2021 requested and enacted) covers
collections, the FY2021 request was $125.8 million, 4%
leadership, budgeting, technology, and related activities.
less than the net appropriation of $131.6 million for BOEM
The requested increase was primarily related to fixed costs.
in FY2020.
BSEE Appropriations
P.L. 116-260 provided $192.8 million in total FY2021
The Administration requested $204.0 million in total budget
budget authority for BOEM (Table 1), 1% more than the
authority for BSEE for FY2021, a 1% increase over the
FY2020 total budget authority and 2% more than requested
FY2020 total budget authority of $202.9 million in P.L.
by the Administration. House-passed H.R. 7608 would have
116-94. The requested net appropriation after offsetting

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collections was $130.3 million, 2% less than the FY2020
net appropriation of $133.4 million.
Table 1. BOEM, BSEE, and ONRR Appropriations, FY2020 and FY2021
($ millions)
FY2020 Enacted
House-Passed Senate Comm. FY2021 Enacted
% Change
(P.L. 116-94) FY2021 Request
H.R. 7608
(P.L. 116-260) FY2020-FY2021
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 col ections.
P.L. 116-260 provided BSEE with total FY2021 budget
The second BSEE account, Oil Spill Research ($14.9
authority of $198.7 million, 3% less than the request and
million FY2020; $12.7 million FY2021 request; $14.9
2% less than the FY2020 total budget authority (Table 1).
million enacted), funds research and planning for oil spill
The House-passed bill would have provided $202.7 million
responses and supports Ohmsett, the National Oil Spill
and the Senate committee draft $200.3 million in total
Response Research and Renewable Energy Test Facility.
budget authority. Net of offsetting collections, the final
The Administration had requested less funding for research,
appropriation was $125.1 million, 4% less than the request
stating the requested amount would allow a focus on
and 6% less than FY2020. This includes a $10.0 million
“priority research activities” in line with Administration
rescission of unobligated funds. The net appropriation in
goals, but the account was funded at the FY2020 level.
the House-passed bill was $129.0 million; in the Senate
committee draft, it was $126.7 million.
ONRR Appropriations
ONRR, which manages revenues from both offshore and
BSEE’s funding is appropriated under two budget accounts,
onshore energy activities on federal and Indian lands, is
Offshore Safety and Environmental Enforcement (OSEE)
funded within the broader appropriation for DOI’s
and Oil Spill Research. Under the OSEE account, the
Department-Wide Programs. For FY2021, the Trump
Operations, Safety, and Regulation activity ($151.8
Administration requested $148.5 million for ONRR, an
million FY2020; $154.1 million FY2021 requested; $152.8
increase of 1% over the FY2020 funding of $147.3 million.
million enacted) supports BSEE’s development of
P.L. 116-260 provided the requested amount of $148.5
regulations and safety standards, review and approval of
million (Table 1), as had the House-passed bill, whereas
OCS operating permits, inspections of facilities and
the Senate committee draft had $131.0 million. ONRR’s
equipment, and oversight of operator safety programs,
request contained some program reductions and some
among other activities. The FY2021 joint explanatory
increases, including an increase in fixed costs.
statement noted the funding increase over FY2020 was for
additional safety personnel.
Legislative Proposals
DOI budget submissions typically include some legislative
The Environmental Enforcement activity ($4.8 million
proposals, such as those to establish new authorities or
FY2020; $5.1 million FY2021 requested; $4.8 million
reauthorize expiring laws. Congressional action, if any, on
enacted) supports BSEE’s compliance with environmental
such proposals might take place outside of the annual
statutes and its oversight and enforcement of environmental
appropriations process. As part of its FY2021 DOI budget
compliance by operators on the OCS. BSEE stated that
submission, the Trump Administration included a
FY2021 funding would be used to improve the agency’s
legislative proposal pertaining to offshore energy revenues.
safety and environmental compliance processes, including
It sought to direct that certain offshore (and onshore)
by focusing on areas of greatest risk and by shortening
energy revenues be deposited in a Public Lands
review timelines.
Infrastructure Fund to address deferred maintenance needs
of federal land management agencies and the Bureau of
The activities for Administrative Operations ($18.2 million
Indian Education. In the 116th Congress, P.L. 116-152, the
FY2020; $18.5 million FY2021 requested; $18.2 million
Great American Outdoors Act, established a similar fund.
enacted) and Executive Direction ($18.1 million FY2020;
For more information, see CRS In Focus IF11636, The
$18.5 million FY2021 requested, $18.1 million enacted)
Great American Outdoors Act, P.L. 116-152.
support a range of administrative services and BSEE’s
executive offices. BSEE’s FY2021 request reflected
For Additional Reading
reduced funding for the Ethics Program (transferred to the
For a broader overview of FY2021 Interior appropriations,
Interior Solicitor’s office) but an increase for general
see CRS Report R46519, Interior, Environment, and
program activities, including performance recognition.
Related Agencies: Overview of FY2021 Appropriations.

Offshore Energy Agency Appropriations, FY2021

Laura B. Comay, Specialist in Natural Resources Policy

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