Fiscal Year 2023 President’s Budget for the Department of Interior (Postponed)

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 25 May 2022 14:00:00 GMT

Hearing has been postponed to a date to be determined.

Chair: Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)

  • Deb Haaland, Secretary, U.S. Department of the Interior

The Department’s 2023 budget totals $18.1 billion in current authority ($17.5 billion in net discretionary authority)—an increase of $2.9 billion, or 19 percent, from the 2022 continuing resolution. An additional $340.0 million is accessible through a budget cap adjustment for wildfire suppression to ensure that funds are available in the event the regular annual appropriation is inadequate to meet suppression needs. The budget also provides an estimated $10.9 billion in permanent funding in 2023.

The Bureau of Land Management budget proposes $249.9 million for Energy and Minerals Management. Effectively combating and mitigating climate change for the long term depends on moving our Nation away from its heavy reliance on fossil fuels. BLM plays a vital role in promoting and facilitating the development of renewable energy by providing sites for the environmentally sound development of renewable energy on public lands. The 2023 budget includes $49.7 million for BLM’s Renewable Energy program, which—along with funding in the Resource Management Planning, Assessment, and Monitoring program—will enable BLM to increase and accelerate renewable energy development on public lands. The funds will support the siting, leasing, and processing of renewable energy rights-of-way applications and the oversight of projects and transmission lines connecting to renewable energy projects. BLM’s Renewable Energy Coordination Offices (RECOs) will guide and execute this important work, including coordinating with other Federal agencies to streamline the review process for clean energy projects. The 2023 request for the Renewable Energy program includes staffing support for a national RECO at the BLM headquarters level as well as State and regional RECOs. BLM expects renewable energy demand and workload to increase significantly as more utilities and States seek to diversify or require increased renewable energy in their electric power portfolios. The 2023 request will better ensure that BLM has the manpower and resources to support this workload.

The budget proposes $115.8 million for Oil and Gas Management. The request will support continued progress in addressing legacy wells on the Alaska North Slope. The request for Energy and Minerals also includes $16.6 million for Coal Management and $16.7 million for Other Mineral Resources Management.

The 2023 Bureau of Ocean Energy Management budget requests $51.7 million for renewable energy activities, including permitting for the siting and construction of offshore wind farms and other renewable energy sources, such as wave and current energy, on the Outer Continental Shelf. The 2023 budget proposes $63.6 million for conventional energy development. The 2023 budget proposes $15.4 million to support BOEM’s marine minerals activities, which foster climate change resilience and restoration while supporting conservation partnerships. Foundational to BOEM’s offshore energy and mineral resource activities are the Environmental Programs, for which the 2023 budget requests $86.4 million.

The 2023 USGS budget is $1.7 billion; USGS estimates that staffing is 8,344 full-time equivalents (FTEs) . The budget prioritizes science addressing climate change and invests in research and development to support economic growth, inform balanced decisions regarding resources, and ensure the well-being of the Nation.

The 2023 President’s Budget for the Fish and Wildlife Service totals $3.7 billion, including current appropriations of $2.0 billion and $1.8 billion available under permanent appropriations, most of which is provided directly to States for fish and wildlife restoration and conservation. The budget for the principal FWS operating account, Resource Management, is $1.7 billion. The National Wildlife Refuge System is an FWS focal point for the Civilian Climate Corps, a program to put people to work improving America’s lands, waters, and infrastructure . The 2023 budget for FWS includes $10.0 million—including $8.0 million in the request for Refuges and $2.0 million in the request for the National Conservation Training Center in General Operations—to develop the next generation of conservation workers and create a new pathway to good-paying jobs. The 2023 request for Science Support is $38.5 million. The program supports adaptive science work with collaborative groups to design and implement conservation and habitat management strategies that improve climate adaptation and resilience on the ground.

FY2023 Member Day

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 07 Apr 2022 13:30:00 GMT

Hearing page

  • Sylvia R. Garcia (D-Texas), in support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s State and Tribal Assistance Grants Programs
  • H. Morgan Griffith (R-W.V.), in support of the Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (AMLER) Program
  • Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen (D-American Samoa) in support of an increase for the American Samoan operations account at the Department of Interior Office of Insular Affairs
  • Kim Schrier (D-Wash.) in support of the State and Volunteer Fire Capacity Programs

Nominations of Geraldine Richmond to be Under Secretary for Science, and Asmeret Asefaw Berhe to be Director of the Office of Science, both of the Department of Energy, and Cynthia Weiner Stachelberg to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 03 Aug 2021 14:00:00 GMT

The purpose of the hearing is to consider the nominations of:

Dr. Geri Richmond is a renowned water chemist who has written:
Environmental concerns about adequate clean water resources have increasingly become more global with the recognition that unwanted chemicals in the atmosphere, in our soils and in our surface waters often transport well beyond the national boundaries of origin. As a result, there is a growing international urgency to understand environmental issues that can cross boundaries with climate change, healthy air quality and clean water resources being the most obvious. The focus of the studies in the Richmond Laboratory is to provide fundamental insights into molecular processes that underlie some of the aforementioned global concerns, with a particular focus on understanding environmentally important processes that occur at water surfaces and aqueous-oil boundary layers.

Winnie Stachelberg is a long-time executive at the Center for American Progress. Previously she was the political director for the Human Rights Campaign.

Dr. Asmeret Berhe is a soil biogeochemist who studies climate change. She was born and did undergraduate education in Eritrea before receiving a master’s degree in political ecology from Michigan State and her PhD from UC Berkeley. She is a professor and assistant dean at UC Merced.
The main goal of her research is to understand the effect of changing environmental conditions on vital soil processes, most importantly the cycling and fate of essential elements in the critical zone. She studies soil processes in systems experiencing natural and/or anthropogenic perturbation in order to understand fundamental principles governed by geomorphology, and contemporary modifications introduced by changes in land use and climate.

Red Road to DC: Final Ceremony

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 29 Jul 2021 18:00:00 GMT

The Red Road to DC is an online and on-the-ground mobilization happening in July connecting 20 Native-led struggles to protect sacred lands, waters, and wildlife from threats posed by dams, climate change, and extractive industries.

Members of Lummi Nation carved a 25 foot totem pole that is being transported from Washington State to Washington DC, visiting tribal nations and Native communities leading efforts to protect sacred places along the way. The journey ends in Washington, DC, with a totem pole blessing, press conference, exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, and delivering the pole to Secretary Deb Haaland at the Department of the Interior.

The House of Tears Carvers and our partners cordially invite you to the culmination of the #RedRoadtoDC Totem Pole Journey in Washington D.C., after thousands of miles traveled visiting dozens of Native-led struggles to protect sacred places. On the 29th, Secretary Deb Haaland will receive the totem pole at a 2pm blessing ceremony on the National Mall, followed by a rally featuring tribal leaders, organizers, and Congressional representatives.

On the 30th, the public is invited to view the totem pole outside the National Museum of the American Indian.

Join us in action, in prayer, or in person to demand:
  • The Biden administration must support and uphold Native People’s Free Prior & Informed Consent, as guaranteed by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Support the demands and struggles of our frontline partners at each and every journey stop starting June 30.

Nominations of Shannon Estenoz to be Interior Assistant Secretary of Fish and Wildlife and Parks, Radhika Fox to be EPA Assistant Administrator for Water, and Michal Freedhoff to be EPA Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 12 May 2021 14:00:00 GMT

Hearing page

  • Shannon Estenoz, Interior Assistant Secretary of Fish and Wildlife and Parks
  • Radhika Fox, EPA Assistant Administrator for Water
  • Michal Freedhoff, EPA Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention

Public Forum on Federal Oil and Gas Program

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 25 Mar 2021 17:00:00 GMT

The Interior Department is hosting a virtual forum regarding the federal oil and gas program.

The public forum is part of Interior’s comprehensive review of the federal oil and gas program as called for in Executive Order 14008 and will feature several panels to highlight perspectives from invited participants including industry representatives, labor and environmental justice organizations, natural resource advocates, Indigenous organizations, and other experts.    

The forum will take place via Zoom Webinar. Anyone interested in viewing the forum may register via Zoom. A livestream of the event will also be available at The forum will be recorded and have live captions.

The information gathered at the forum will help inform an interim report from the Department that will be completed in early summer. The report will include initial findings on the state of the federal conventional energy programs, as well as outline next steps and recommendations for the Department and Congress to improve stewardship of public lands and waters, create jobs, and build a just and equitable energy future.

Members of the public can submit additional information through April 15 to inform Interior’s interim report at [email protected].

The agenda for the forum is below:

  • 1:00 pm: Welcome and introductory remarks by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and Interior leadership.
  • 1:15 pm: Presentations by the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management (BOEM) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on offshore and onshore oil and gas programs.
  • 1:50 pm: Presentations and Q&A by invited individuals representing environmental justice and frontline communities, academia, oil and gas industry trade associations, Indigenous organizations, conservation organizations, and labor groups. A list of participants will be updated on Interior’s website as available.
  • 4:30 pm: Adjourn

In addition to the forum, the Interior Department is conducting extensive outreach to Members of Congress, Governors, Tribes, and other state and local elected leaders.

Biden Transition Packed With Climate Hawks

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 16 Dec 2020 15:06:00 GMT

Even though the loser of the presidential election, Donald Trump, continues his quest for autogolpe, President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team is hard at work preparing his new administration. Among the hundreds of staff and volunteers comprising the agency review teams are dozens of climate hawks. These are people with significant experience in climate policy and politics. Some have careers rooted in environmental justice, while others are technologists.

Cabinet departments are listed in order of creation, an approximate reflection of their power and significance within the federal government. This post will be continually updated.

State (nominee: Tony Blinken)

Treasury (nominee: Janet Yellen)

  • Andy Green, a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer from 2014 to 2015 and a longtime counsel for U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), worked on pricing climate risk while at the SEC. As a Center for American Progress fellow, he has been an outspoken advocate for ending the financing of carbon polluters.
  • Marisa Lago, former Assistant Secretary for International Markets and Development, has experience with international climate finance as well as urban climate adaptation planning. Lago is presently the director of city planning for New York City, having held similar roles in the 1990s for Boston and New York City. Before joining the Obama administration, Lago was Global Head of Compliance for Citigroup after a similar role at the S.E.C. running the Office of International Affairs.
  • Damon Silvers, long-time counsel and policy director for the AFL-CIO, has served on the board of Ceres for many years, advocating for labor’s interests in a green economy. He received his B.A., M.B.A., and J.D. from Harvard University and supported worker and divestment campaigns while a student there.
Defense (nominee: Gen. Lloyd Austin) Justice
  • Prominent environmental law scholar Richard Lazarus, a Harvard Law professor. His most recent book, The Law of Five, reviews the landmark Massachusetts v. EPA Supreme Court case which affirmed that greenhouse emissions are pollution. He served as the executive director of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Future of Offshore Drilling. In 1992, he was part of Clinton’s transition team for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. In a recent interview, he stated, “There’s no greater problem that overwhelms us these days in environmental law than climate change.”
Interior (nominee: Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.))
  • Maggie Thomas is the political director at Evergreen Action, a climate advocacy group run by veterans of Jay Inslee’s presidential campaign. Thomas was climate policy advisor for the Elizabeth Warren campaign after Inslee’s campaign ended, where she was deputy climate director. She joined Inslee’s campaign from Tom Steyer’s NextGen America organization. She holds a B.S. in biology and environmental management from Trinity College and a masters in environmental management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
  • Kate Kelly served in the Obama administration as senior adviser to and communications director for Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. She is the director of public lands at the Center for American Progress. Previously, she was communications director for Sen. Arlen Spector (R-Penn.) She has written on how the United States can equitably abandon fossil-fuel extraction and embrace renewable energy development on public lands.
  • Elizabeth Johnson Klein, an environmental attorney and former Deputy Assistant Secretary at Interior for Policy, Management & Budget during the Obama administration and served as assistant to the Secretary of the Interior in the Clinton administration. Klein is now the Deputy Director of the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center at NYU School of Law. For years she worked with Obama and Clinton Interior official David Hayes, the center’s director. She received her B.A. in economics from George Washington University and her JD from American University, where she was president of the Environmental Law Society. She has written on environmental justice and the dire need for climate leadership.
  • Robert (Bob) Anderson is a legal scholar whose career has been focused on protecting Native American water rights and environmental protection. In 2016, he reviewed the Dakota Access Pipeline conflict, noting that “the colonial process is on full display.” (He also wryly noted, “One might think that a multi-state project to carry a toxic substance would require an extensive federal appraisal, safety, and permitting process. Not so here.”)
Agriculture (nominee: Tom Vilsack)
  • Team lead Robert Bonnie, former U.S.D.A. Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment and Senior Advisor to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for environment and climate change, is the co-author of the Climate 21 Project’s U.S.D.A. chapter, which lays out a comprehensive climate agenda for the agency. Now a scholar at Duke University’s environmental policy institute, Bonnie was formerly the vice president for land conservation for the Environmental Defense Fund. He has a master’s in environmental management from Duke and a B.A. from Harvard.
  • Meryl Harrell, now the executive director at Southern Appalachian Wilderness Stewards, worked for Bonnie at the U.S.D.A. and was his co-author on the Climate 21 Project chapter. She has a B.A. in geoscience and environmental studies from Princeton and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
  • Jonathan Coppess, former chief counsel for the Senate Agriculture Committee and administrator of the U.S.D.A. Farm Service Agency, has worked on biofuels programs including the Renewable Fuels Standard and biomass crops as well as several land, water, and soil conservation programs for farmers.
  • Andrea Delgado is a co-founder of Green Latinos, a national Latino environmental justice organization. Currently the chief lobbyist for the United Farm Workers Foundation, she was previously legislative director of the Healthy Communities program at Earthjustice.
  • John Padalino is the former administrator for USDA’s Rural Utilities Service, having also served as Chief of Staff to the Under Secretary for Rural Development to Acting Principal Deputy General Counsel in the department. He works on rural water and electric cooperatives and is now general counsel to Bandera Electric Cooperative, a rural Texas electricity provider that has been working on smart grids and solar deployment for its members.
  • Jeffrey Prieto is a long-time Department of Justice environmental lawyer who helped set up its environmental justice division. He rose to general counsel at USDA during the Obama administration. He is presently general counsel for the Los Angeles Community College District.
  • Karen Hyun, Ph.D. is the former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the Department of the Interior and was Interior Secretary John Bryson’s senior policy adviser on energy and environment issues. She is now Vice President for Coastal Conservation at the National Audubon Society. She has a Ph.D. in Marine Affairs at the University of Rhode Island M.S. and B.S. in Earth Systems from Stanford University.
  • Kathryn Sullivan, Ph.D., former NOAA administrator. Both an oceanographer and astronaut, she is the only human to have both walked in space and visited the Challenger Deep. She served as NOAA’s chief scientist during the Clinton administration. She received her bachelor’s in earth sciences from U.C. Santa Cruz and her Ph.D. in geology from Dalhousie University. She has written on the urgency of the climate crisis and fought attempts by climate denier Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) to hobble her agency.
  • Political scientist Todd Tucker, director of governance studies at the Roosevelt Institute, author of The Green New Deal: A Ten-Year Window to Reshape International Economic Law. Tucker has a bachelor’s degree from George Washington University and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. He was the long time research director at Public Citizen.
  • Kris Sarri, President and CEO, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. She was a climate and oceans Senate staffer with Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) from 2006 to 2010, and worked in the Obama administration as chief climate and oceans staff in the Commerce Department, and rose to senior positions at the Office of Management and Budget and Interior. An Ann Arbor native, she received her MS and MPH from the University of Michigan and BA from Washington University in St Louis.
  • Dr. Sandra Whitehouse, oceanographer and marine policy expert who has studied the impacts of climate change on our oceans. She is a senior policy advisor for the Nature Conservancy and the wife of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). Dr. Whitehouse holds a B.S. from Yale University and a Ph.D. in biological oceanography from the Graduate School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. As her husband has done on the Senate floor, Dr. Whitehouse has raised the alarm about the crisis of climate pollution. “We are just beginning to understand the far-reaching impacts temperature change is having on ecosystems and wildlife. We are seeing the entire collapse of deep-sea ecosystems, and we don’t know what those ramifications are.”


  • Josh Orton, senior policy advisor to climate champion Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). As Orton said when Sanders unveiled his climate plan during his presidential campaign, “This threat is beyond ideology — it’s a question of life and death.”

Health and Human Services none

Housing and Urban Development none


  • Patty Monahan, lead commissioner on transportation for the California Energy Commission. Monahan has worked on clean transportation policy and advocacy for the Energy Foundation, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Environmental Protection Agency, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She received a B.S. in environmental studies from U.C. Berkeley and an M.S. from the Energy Analysis and Policy program of the University of Wisconsin. Monahan: “Climate Change was and remains the single biggest problem facing our world and energy is a major piece of the puzzle.”
  • Dr. Austin Brown, executive director of the UC Davis Policy Institute for Energy, the Environment, and the Economy. Brown was the Assistant Director for Clean Energy and Transportation in the Obama White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. He has also worked in the Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. He holds a B.S. in physics from Harvey Mudd College and a Ph.D. in biophysics from Stanford University. He is working towards a zero-carbon transportation sector.

An Incomplete List of Senate Holds on Obama Administration Nominees 1

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 02 Nov 2009 17:02:00 GMT

Active holds are bolded.

White House
  • Nancy Sutley, White House Council on Environmental Quality Chairwoman – John Barrasso (R-Wyo.)
  • Cass Sunstein, OIRA director – Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)
  • John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy – Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), anonymous
Department of Energy
  • Richard Newell, administrator of the Energy Information Administration – John McCain (R-Ariz.)
  • Ines Triay, assistant secretary of environmental management – Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.)
  • Kristina Johnson, undersecretary for energy – Kyl
  • Steven Koonin, undersecretary for science – Kyl
  • Scott Blake Harris, general counsel – Kyl
Environmental Protection Agency
  • Lisa Jackson, administrator – Barrasso
  • Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for air and radiation – Barrasso
  • Robert Perciasepe, deputy administrator – George Voinovich (R-Ohio)
  • David Hayes, deputy secretary – Robert Bennett (R-Utah), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
  • Hilary Tompkins, solicitor – Bennett, Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), and other anonymous Rs
  • Jon Jarvis, National Park Service director – Coburn
  • Wilma Lewis, assistant secretary for land and mineral management – McCain
  • Robert Abbey, Bureau of Land Management administrator – McCain
  • Joseph Pizarchik, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement – anonymous D
  • Harold Koh, legal adviser to the State Department – Jim DeMint (R-S.C.)
  • Susan Burk, Special Representative for Non-Proliferation – DeMint
  • Thomas Shannon Jr., ambassador to Brazil – DeMint, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)
  • Ellen Tauscher, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security – Kyl, released June 25
  • Arturo Valenzuela, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs – DeMint
  • Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor – anonymous R
  • Craig Becker, National Labor Relations Board – McCain
  • Jane Lubchenco, director of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – Menendez, anonymous
Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • Craig Fugate, director – David Vitter (R-La.), released May 12
Commodity Futures Trading Commission
  • Gary Gensler, chairman – Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), released May 14

Forest Service Oversight

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 11 Mar 2009 13:30:00 GMT

  • Robin Nazzaro, director for natural resources and the environment, GAO
  • Phyllis Fong, inspector general,Agriculture Department
E&E News:
House appropriators will delve into the state of the Forest Service on Wednesday, likely focusing on the escalating cost of wildfires and the agency’s fire management plans.

The session is one in a series of pre-budget hearings designed to get assessments and input from federal watchdogs on the operation of agencies overseen by the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee.

One inescapable topic is how to fix the Forest Service’s budget problems due to wildfire costs. In recent years, the agency has run out of firefighting money and had to transfer hundreds of millions from its other programs to cover the wildfire costs, causing major disruptions to its other priorities.

The Obama administration wants to create a new contingent reserve fund for catastrophic wildfires. The fund would be tapped only if federal agencies exhaust regularly budgeted money for wildfires, which would continue to be fully funded based on the 10-year average cost of fire suppression.

The discretionary reserve fund would include $75 million for Interior agencies and $282 million for the Forest Service for firefighting. The fund would be tapped into after the $1.1 billion appropriated 10-year average runs out.

Salazar Announces Change from 'Headlong Rush' into Offshore Drilling

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 11 Feb 2009 22:28:00 GMT

From the Wonk Room.

Ken SalazarAnnouncing that “the time for reform has arrived,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar set aside the Bush administration’s “midnight timetable” for offshore drilling. “On Friday, January 16, its last business day in office,” Salazar explained in his Feburary 10th press conference, “the Bush Administration proposed a new five year plan for offshore oil and gas leasing.” The Bush plan called for the completion of meetings and hearings by March 23. Salazar decried this “broken process”:

It was a headlong rush of the worst kind. It was a process rigged to force hurried decisions based on bad information. It was a process tilted toward the usual energy players while renewable energy companies and the interests of American consumers and taxpayers were overlooked.

Salazar announced he “will extend the public comment period by 180 days, get a report on offshore energy resources, hold regional conferences and expedite rulemaking for offshore renewable energy resources.”

Salazar made it clear that his definition of “energy independence” does not mean a “drill only” future. He rebuked the “oil and gas or nothing” approach of the Bush administration, who ignored the Energy Policy Act of 2005’s mandate to develop regulations for offshore renewables:
I intend to do what the Bush Administration refused to do: build a framework for offshore renewable energy development, so that we incorporate the great potential for wind, wave, and ocean current energy into our offshore energy strategy. The Bush Administration was so intent on opening new areas for oil and gas offshore that it torpedoed offshore renewable energy efforts.

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