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VIDEO RELEASE: Chairman Hastings Announces Draft Reorganization Proposal of Interior Department’s Offshore Energy Oversight


WASHINGTON, D.C., July 25, 2011 - House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings today released a YouTube video unveiling discussion draft legislation to reorganize and reform the Interior Department’s offshore energy oversight. The draft proposal officially abolishes the Minerals Management Service to create three separate agencies and establishes a new Under Secretary of Energy, Lands and Minerals in order to elevate the role of American energy production on public lands within the Interior Department.

These reforms will help expand American energy production in order to protect and create American jobs, grow the economy and lower energy costs, while ensuring that all activity is conducted with proper oversight.

“Following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, it’s evident that changes need to be made to the organization and structure of the federal government’s offshore energy agencies. Reforms must increase accountability, improve efficiency, promote safety and ensure the highest ethical standards of employees. The Department of the Interior has already taken steps to restructure its organization overseeing offshore energy. While the Department has made progress, I believe Congress should pass legislation building on their reforms and write into law the structure of these agencies,” said Chairman Hastings.

Specifically, Chairman Hastings’ reorganization proposal would:

  • Create a new Under Secretary of Energy, Land and Minerals to be appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. This position would oversee all offshore and onshore energy operations.

  • Abolish the MMS and create three separate, distinct agencies to handle offshore energy operations, each with clearly defined missions:

    • The Bureau of Ocean Energy (BOE) is responsible for the planning, leasing and environmental work associated with offshore energy production.

    • The Ocean Energy Safety Service (OESS) is responsible for permitting, safety and inspections.

    • The Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) is responsible for all royalty and revenue collection.

  • Establish an Assistant Secretary for Ocean Energy and Safety to oversee both BOE and OESS. The current Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget will oversee ONRR.

  • Establish a National Offshore Energy Health and Safety Academy to train the government’s offshore inspectors.

  • Establish an Outer Continental Shelf Energy Safety Advisory Board, which was recently created by the Interior Department, to offer independent scientific advice on safe, responsible and timely energy production.

  • Require that employees conducting safety inspections have at least three years experience in the oil and natural gas field and a degree in an appropriate field.

  • Requires annual performance reviews of inspectors.

  • Require the Secretary of the Interior to certify annually that all DOI employees are in compliance with all Federal employee ethics laws and requires the Secretary to conduct a random drug testing program.

For more information on the Discussion Draft, visit http://naturalresources.house.gov/

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Contact: Jill Strait, Spencer Pederson or Crystal Feldman 202-226-9019

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