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If you are tracking FY2013 ocean and coastal related budget hearings, there’s a lot to cover

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image of U.S. Currency by William Nuckols

Do you know where the "ocean budget" dollars are located? Look widely, as many agencies impact the oceans and coasts of the U.S.
**more fy2013 hearings connected to agencies which have an impact on ocean policy issues will be added as they become available. Return to this page for updates

NOAA has dropped its FY2013 budget last week, when the President sent his full budget request  to the Hill for consideration by the House and Senate. This year’s NOAA budget request is approximately $5.1 billion. But that’s far from the only money in the oceans and coastal arena in the federal budget.

The National Ocean Council (NOC) structure includes dozens of agencies and the Executive Office of the President. Sensibly, it is not until you look across that broad collection of agency budget proposals and the reaction from the Hill to them will you get an understanding of the scale of the “ocean and coastal budget.”

Here are a few of the ocean related Congressional budget hearings that have occurred or are coming up over the next  months which provide the trail of breadcrumbs those interested in ocean and coastal issues will want to be following:

(Hearings which have already occurred will have links to archived video where available.)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

House Appropriations Committee hearing
Budget Hearing – Department of the Interior – Secretary

Thursday, February 16, 2012 1:30 PM in 2359 Rayburn
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

Witnesses: Ken Salazar, Secretary, Department of the Interior (Biography)(Testimony); David Hayes, Deputy Secretary (Biography); Pamela Haze, Deputy Assistant Secretary – Budget, Finance, Performance and Acquisition (Biography)
Opening statements: Chairman Rogers / Chairman Simpson
Video recording: Part I / Part II

Friday, February 17, 2012

House Appropriations Committee hearing
Budget Hearing – Department of Agriculture – Secretary

Friday, February 17, 2012 10:00 AM in 2362-A Rayburn
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies

Witnesses: Honorable Thomas Vilsack, Secretary- Department of Agriculture; Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary-Department of Agriculture; Dr. Joseph Glauber, Chief Economist-Department of Agriculture; Michael Young, Budget Officer-Department of Agriculture

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

House Subcommittee on Energy and Power and the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy Joint Hearing
The title of the hearing is “The FY 2013 EPA Budget.”
10:00 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
Opening Statement of Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield

Opening Statement of Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus

Opening Statement of Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton

Witness List
: Ms. Lisa P. Jackson, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, Witness Testimony
the hearing will be live broadcast on the Committee’s website.  It is also being carried on CSPAN.

House Appropriations Committee hearing
Budget Hearing – Department of Energy – Secretary

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 2:00 PM in 2359 Rayburn
Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies

Witness: The Honorable Dr. Steven Chu, Secretary, Department of Energy

House Natural Resources Committee hearing
Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Oversight Hearing on “FY 2013 budget requests from the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management”
10:00 AM   in 1324 Longworth House Office Building
Witness:
Jon Jarvis, Director, National Park Service
Robert Abbey, Director, Bureau of Land Management

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

House Appropriations Committee hearing (POSTPONED – new date TBD)
Budget Hearing – Department of Commerce, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 10:00 AM in H-309 Capitol
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

Witness: The Honorable Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator
(This hearing will not be webcast.)

House Appropriations Committee hearing
Budget Hearing – Department of State – Secretary of State

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 10:00 AM in 2359 Rayburn
State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs

Witness: The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, Department of State

House Appropriations Committee hearing
Budget Hearing – Environmental Protection Agency – Administrator

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 1:00 PM in 2359 Rayburn
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

Witnesses: Lisa Jackson, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency; Barbara Bennett, Chief Financial Officer, Environmental Protection Agency

House Appropriations Committee hearing
Budget Hearing – Office of Science and Technology Policy. Director

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 2:00 PM in H-309 Capitol
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

Witness: The Honorable John P. Holdren, Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy
(This hearing will not be webcast).

Thursday March 1, 2012

House Appropriations Committee hearing
Budget Hearing – Fish and Wildlife Service – Director

Thursday, March 1, 2012 9:30 AM in B-308 Rayburn
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

Witnesses: Dan Ashe, Director, Fish and Wildlife Service; Chris Nolin, Budget Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Tuesday March 6, 2012

House Appropriations Budget Hearing
U.S. Coast Guard – Commandant

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 10:00 AM in B-318 Rayburn
Homeland Security

Witness:  Robert Papp, Jr., Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard

House Appropriations Budget Hearing – National Science Foundation
Tuesday, March 6, 2012 10:00 AM in H-309, the Capitol
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies

Witness
: The Honorable Subra Suresh, Director, National Science Foundation
(This hearing will not be webcast by the Committee)

House Appropriations Committee hearing
Budget Hearing – U.S. Geological Survey

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 1:00 PM in B-308 Rayburn
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

Witness: Dr. Marcia McNutt, Director, USGS

House Natural Resources Committee hearing
Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs Oversight Hearing on “Spending for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Office of Insular Affairs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the President’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Request for these Agencies.”
Tuesday, March 6, 2012 10:00 AM in 1334 Longworth House Office Building
WITNESSES AND TESTIMONY:
Witnesses TBD.

Wednesday March 7, 2012

House Budget Committee, Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies Subcommittee
Budget Hearing – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Assistant Secretary, Chief of Engineers

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 2:00 PM in 2362-B Rayburn
Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies

Witnesses: The Honorable Jo Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Maj. Gen. Merdith “Bo” Temple, Chief of Engineers (Acting), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
(This hearing will not be webcast)

Budget Hearing – Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement – Directors
Wednesday, March 7, 2012 1:00 PM in B-308 Rayburn
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

Witness: Tommy Beaudreau, Director, BOEM; Rear Admiral James Watson, Director, BSEE

House Natural Resources Committee hearing
Committee on Natural Resources Oversight Hearing on “The Council on Environmental Quality’s FY 2013 Funding Request and the Effects on NEPA, National Ocean Policy and Other Federal Environmental Policy Initiatives”
Wednesday, March 7, 2012 10:00 AM in 1324 Longworth House Office Building
Witness: Nancy Sutley, Chairwoman, Council on Environmental Quality

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Oversight Hearing
Priorities, Plans, and Progress of the Nation’s Space Program
Mar 07 2012 10:00 AM
Russell Senate Office Building – 253
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation announces the following upcoming hearing on priorities, plans, and progress of the nation’s space program.
Please note the hearing will be webcast live via the Senate Commerce Committee website.

House Appropriations Budget Hearing – Department of Agriculture
Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 10:00 AM in 2362-A Rayburn
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies

Witnesses: Mr. Harris Sherman, Under Secretary, Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Agriculture; Mr. Dave White,Chief, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Department of Agriculture; Mr. Michael Young, Budget Officer, Department of Agriculture.
(This hearing will not be webcast.)

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation announces the following upcoming hearing on the president’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal for the Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The President’s FY2013 Budget Proposals for the Coast Guard and NOAA

Mar 07 2012 2:30 PM Russell Senate Office Building – 253
Witness List:
The Honorable Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Admiral Robert J. Papp, Commandant of the United States Coast Guard

House Appropriations Budget Hearing
Federal Emergency Management Agency

Wednesday, March 7, 2012 10:00 AM in 2358-A Rayburn
Homeland Security

Witnesses:
Craig Fugate, Director, Federal Emergency Management Agency
(This hearing will not be webcast)

Thursday March 8, 2012

House Budget Hearing – National Park Service – Director
Thursday, March 8, 2012 9:30 AM in B-308 Rayburn
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

Witness: Jon Jarvis, Director, National Park Service

House Natural Resources Committee Hearing – FY13 Budget for DOI’s BOEM and BSSE
Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources
March 8, 2012 9:30 AM

1334 Longworth House Office Building
Oversight Hearing on “Effect of the President’s FY 2013 Budget and Legislative Proposals for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) on Private Sector Job Creation, Domestic Energy Production, Safety and Deficit Reduction
Witnesses:
Tommy Beaudreau, Director, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
James Watson, Director, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement

House Appropriations Committee Budget Hearing
Department of Transportation – Secretary

Thursday, March 8, 2012 9:30 AM in 2358-A Rayburn
Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies

Witness: The Honorable Ray LaHood, Secretary, Department of Transportation
House Appropriations Committee
Budget Hearing – National Park Service 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 1:00 PM in B-308 Rayburn
Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee

Witness: Jon Jarvis, Director, National Park Service(Biography); Bruce Sheaffer, Comptroller, National Park Service(Biography); Peggy O’Dell, Deputy Director, National Park Service(Biography)
(This hearing will not be webcast)
Senate Appropriations Committee
Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee (Chairman Mikulski)
March 28, 2012
Time and Location: 2:00 p.m., Dirksen 124
Agenda: a review of the Fiscal Year 2013 budget request for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Witnesses: The Honorable Charles F. Bolden, Administrator
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Senate Appropriations Committee
Energy and Water Development Subcommittee (Chairman Feinstein)
March 28, 2012
Time and Location: 2:30 p.m., Dirksen 192
Agenda: A review of the President’s Fiscal Year 2013 funding request and budget justification for the Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation.
Witnesses:
Major General Merdith (Bo) Temple
Acting Commanding General
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)
The Honorable Jo-Ellen Darcy
Assistant Secretary
U.S. Army (Civil Works)
The Honorable Anne Castle
Assistant Secretary for Water and Science
U.S. Department of the Interior
The Honorable Michael L. Connor
Commissioner
Bureau of Reclamation
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Senate Appropriations Committee
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee (Chairman Kohl)
March 29, 2012
Time and Location: 2:00 p.m., Dirksen 192
Agenda: Fiscal Year 2013 budget request for the Department of Agriculture
Witness: The Honorable Thomas Vilsack, Secretary, Department of Agriculture(USDA)
Accompanied by:
Dr. Kathleen Merrigan, Deputy Secretary, Department of Agriculture, Dr. Joseph Glauber, Chief Economist, Department of Agriculture, Mr. Michael Young, Budget Officer, Department of Agriculture

**more fy2013 hearings connected to agencies which have an impact on ocean policy issues will be added as they become available.  Return to this page for updates.

The author is a scientist by training and the owner of W.H. Nuckols Consulting, an environmental policy firm.
A bio for Mr. Nuckols is located at www.WilliamHNuckols.com

You can follow Will Nuckols on Twitter at @enviroxpert

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Dirksen 124

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Oil Spill Commission’s Bob Graham questions DOI’s competency in collecting royalties

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image of senator Bob Graham, Oil Spill Commission chairman

Senator Bob Graham, Commission Chairman, questions DOI's role as the collector of funds from leases, instead preferring the Department of the Treasury

Today at a meeting of the Oil Spill Commission meeting in Washington, retired Senator and Commission Chairman Bob Graham questioned DOI’s competency in collecting federal funds for leases on federal or tribal lands across the board. Citing both the mishandling of finds from the BIA trust, as well as the inappropriate influence of DOI income on offshore lease decisions, he tipped his hand and indicated his preference that the U.S. Department of the Treasury is a better place to receive the royalties from leases on U.S. federal and tribal lands. His point was related to the need to avoid conflicts of interest in decision making when analyzing the sale of oil and gas leases.

But then when discussions returned to the views of staff and the full Commission, it became clear that reform at DOI was focused solely on leasing for offshore waters and that their recommendations did not look to onshore oil and gas or other revenue generating leases, for example those for mineral rights.

What is lacking is an examination of internal conflicts that exist within DOI in a general sense. After all, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is located within DOI and is responsible for the protection of U.S. wildlife resources, including even select marine mammals such as manatees and sea otters. And DOI regularly works to balance the comments of the USFWS when conducting leases on U.S. lands held, for instance, by BLM. Does that process work well, or is it too flawed and in need of revision, thereby showing a systematic problem within the Department?

Much dialogue at the hearings today focused on staff recommendations, and concerns of Commissioners, who are concerned about DOI’s seeming habitual lack of attention to comments provided by NOAA during the NEPA consultation process as it related to oil and gas sales.

The analysis would be improved if there was a critique of whether economic or environmental concerns, or an appropriate balance of both factors, tend to rule the day when DOI provides leases for right to U.S. owned natural resources.

Is it that DOI habitually downplays the importance of ecological concerns? Or is it a cultural bias of decreased attention being paid to comments coming from agencies outside of DOI such as NOAA, which resides within the Department of Commerce?

When contemplating reorganization within DOI and the oil and gas lease process understanding the pros and cons of voices stemming from within DOI bureaus as compared to comments from outside of DOI is crucial information if optimal recommendations for future oil and gas lease processes are to be made.

An accurate depiction of the role of DOI in lease decisions in a general sense would have provided a useful lens to look through as the Oil Spill Commission considers the specific quirks of leasing in offshore waters. However, if the Commission does unearth an improved process for how DOI should consider environmental information when it reviews lease proposals, but fails to expand the recommendation to a systematic DOI-wide change, it would do a disservice to the American people who funded the multi-million dollar Commission budget.  And as importantly, it would exacerbate the oddities of how on-land, near-shore and deep-water leasing decisions are being made. Especially given the realities of changing drilling technologies, such as in Alaska when oil companies are proposing to essentially constructing new gravel islands to conduct their drilling activities from, thereby putting their drilling application into one type of review process for land-based drilling, even though the directional drilling proposed would extract the oil and gas resources from offshore locations, a holistic view of oil and gas development is needed. To look broadly is not to step beyond the Commission’s mandate, but rather to use this window in time to optimize the public policy process in a rational way that the public and industry can see as logical and systematic. If we only examine how the balancing of environmental, economic and safety concerns are addressed in deep-water drilling offshore, while ignoring other oil and gas permitting processes within DOI, is to further exacerbate the current system where best practices are applied to only some areas of the nation, leaving others with a sub-optimized leasing and oversight regime.

The National Oil Spill Commissioners deliberates on preliminary findings related to the root causes of the BP/Deepwater Horizon disaster and options to guard against and mitigate the impacts of future spills on Thurs., Dec. 2nd (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) and  Fri., Dec. 3rd(9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) at 1777 F St. NW in Washington D.C.

The author is a scientist by training and the owner of W.H. Nuckols Consulting, an environmental policy firm.  
A bio for Mr. Nuckols is located at www.WilliamHNuckols.com

Written by Will Nuckols

December 2, 2010 at 11:23 pm