Republicans Seek Answers for Leasing Delays, Increased Funding Requests
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 26, 2023 | Committee Press Office (202-225-2761)
Today, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing on the president's Fiscal Year 2024 budget request for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Subcommittee Chairman Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) released the following statement in response:
"Agency Directors appearing before the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee should be a regular occurrence, so I was pleased to finally have this budget hearing with these Directors. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Liz Klein’s questionable ethics and continued zealous opposition to any sort of responsible energy development embodies this Administration’s radical, keep-it-in-the-ground position. Further, in her previous position, Director Klein used Billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s money to fund lawyers in the Minnesota Attorney General’s office for extreme causes that are out of touch with most Minnesotans. Therefore, House Republicans will hold BOEM and the rest of DOI accountable while advancing pro-energy policies such as the bipartisan Lower Energy Costs Act."
The Department of the Interior (DOI) oversees BOEM and is responsible for issuing regular five-year plans for offshore oil and natural gas leasing. As of today, BOEM is nearly one year late in issuing a new plan and is putting American jobs and the economy at risk. Without a timely plan, investment and development will stagnate, jeopardizing future production. This is the first time DOI has issued a delayed plan since the process was first initiated in 1980.
The hearing today was an important step in holding BOEM accountable and determining why the agency continues to delay the offshore leasing process. Committee Republicans stressed the need for certainty in the leasing and permitting process and the importance of the offshore leasing program to our energy security and our ability to supply our allies with energy resources.
Additionally, the hearing examined BSEE's increased budget request, and committee members raised concerns about offshore energy development. The budget request includes onerous fees which would increase the cost of operating offshore energy facilities.
Today's hearing also conducted oversight of the USGS's budget increase and use of taxpayer funds. The agency requested a 15 percent increase in funding over last year's budget in addition to supplemental funding from the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. Significant oversight is necessary to ensure these funds are being spent in an effective and responsible manner. Members also raised concerns about the politicization of the USGS's list of critical minerals, as important commodities like uranium and helium were removed from the list between its first publication in 2018 and the updated list in 2022.To learn more, click here.
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