Photo: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris; Source: Biden's Twitter account

Biden budget to support BSEE with over $253 million

The Biden administration has submitted to Congress the budget for the fiscal year 2022, which includes $253.4 million to support the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

BSEE’s fiscal year 2022 budget request includes funding for priority investments like decommissioning orphan wells and infrastructure, the advancement of renewable energy by developing and expanding safety and environmental compliance programs and enhancing research activities.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said: “The Interior Department plays an important role in the President’s plan to reinvest in the American people. From bolstering climate resiliency and increasing renewable energy to supporting Tribal nations and advancing environmental justice, President Biden’s budget will make much-needed investments in communities and projects that will advance our vision for a robust and equitable clean energy future”.

BSEE acting director Scott Mabry, added: “The President’s budget request for BSEE is a clear indication of the Administration’s support of our mission. This budget will enable BSEE to continue providing oversight of oil, gas, and renewable energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf, while promoting a culture of safety and environmental protection and ensuring industry compliance with federal regulations”.

As for its budget requests, BSEE asked for $30.0 million to reduce the risk of pollution from orphaned infrastructure to address the immediate and urgent need to properly plug and abandon orphaned wells and orphaned pipelines on the Outer Continental Shelf.

The budget also includes $9 million to establish a core foundational program to support the development of a safe, robust and environmentally responsible offshore wind industry in the United States.

The funding will enable BSEE to ensure timely and rigorous industry plan reviews, initiate a thorough compliance assurance program, promote science-based renewable energy research, and demonstrate BSEE’s commitment and leadership in driving safety performance in the offshore wind industry while supporting the administration’s goal to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind production capacity by 2030.

Due to the importance of oil spill prevention, the budget includes $15.1 million for oil spill research. This request will enable BSEE to sponsor the testing of advanced technologies for detecting oil spills and determining oil slick thickness using remote sensing tools, integrate remote sensing data to support operational decision making, and develop smart skimming technologies to improve oil recovery rates.

The BSEE budget request also has $200,000 to support the President’s efforts to advance racial diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility across the federal government.

As part of this initiative, the Department, bureaus, and offices will jointly conduct a review of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility program across Interior to identify gaps, challenges, and best practices and to examine Department and bureau roles, responsibilities, and governance.