Secretary Salazar Divides MMS Missions
May 19, 2010
Thank you very much for coming this afternoon to the Department of the Interior. Today I signed a Secretarial Order that will lead to the fundamental restructuring of the Minerals Management Service.
It will restructure the divisions and the three conflicting missions of the agency into three separate entities with independent missions. Secretary of the Interior James Watt created MMS by Secretarial Order a long time ago in 1982.
Since then MMS has managed the collection of over $210 billion in revenues generated from programs including oil and gas, coal, metals and renewable energy resources.
But in addition to collecting revenues MMS is tasked with developing and implementing plans for leasing conventional and renewable energy resources on the outer continental shelf.
It is also responsible for overseeing offshore energy operations and ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations. These three missions, energy development, enforcement and revenue collection are conflicting missions and must be separated.
So today I am ordering the division of MMS into three distinct entities, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the Office of Natural Resources Revenue.
First, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management will be under the supervision of the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals, Wilma Lewis. That bureau will be responsible for the sustainable development to the outer continental shelf’s energy resources, both conventional and renewable energy.
They will carry out resource evaluation, planning and other activities related to leasing and they will focus not just on oil and gas as MMS has - had done for a long time, but also on responsibly developing our offshore renewable energy resources.
This new Ocean Energy Bureau will help us build the clean energy future of our nation. Second, we will create the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement.
This separate bureau will be overseen by the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals and they will be responsible for ensuring the comprehensive oversight, safety and environmental protection in all offshore energy activities.
This will be the police of offshore oil and gas operations and this bureau will ensure that our laws and regulations are being enforced and our environment is being protected.
Finally in another part of the Department of Interior we will move from MMS to the Assistant Secretary of Policy, Management and Budget an office which we will call the Office of Natural Resources Revenue.
In that office that - the personnel and the director there will be responsible for MMS’ current royalty and revenue management function, including the collection and distribution of revenue, auditing and compliance and assets management.
This office will ensure that the American people are getting every dollar that they should be getting from the responsible development of our public resources.
This will be the framework for the reorganization. In the Secretarial Order I signed earlier this - earlier today I directed the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals, Wilma Lewis, the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget, Rhea Suh and Senior Advisor Chris Henderson to deliver to me within 30 days a schedule of the implementation for this reorganization.
As we move forward we will work closely with the members of the United States Congress and with the Office of Management and Budget to implement these reforms.
This reorganization is vital to our ongoing reform efforts. The employees of MMS deserve an organizational structure that fits the mission that they are asked to carry out.
They will get greater clarity for their roles and responsibilities and we will be able to strengthen oversight of the companies that develop the nation’s energy resources.
These reforms are not the first nor they - nor will they be the last that we undertake in the Department of the Interior. Beginning in January of 2009 we established new ethics standards for MMS in the wake of the scandals that the agency had seen in the past.
We terminated the controversial royalty-in-kind program because we felt it invited the kinds of scandals that the agency had seen before. We balanced the agency’s mandate so that it wasn’t just focused on oil and gas, but that also included offshore wind and renewable energy production which we have moved forward quickly in the last year.
We implemented many of the - many recommendations of the Inspector General, the General Accounting Office and a separate commission that had been established to provide recommendations to MMS which was chaired by former Senators Bob Kerrey and Senators Jake Garn.
We canceled proposed offshore leases in the Arctic and the Chukchi and the Beaufort Seas as well as at - in Bristol Bay. And we established a clear, orderly and science-based process for determining which areas on the outer continental shelf may be appropriate for oil and gas development.
We will continue to work tirelessly to change how the Department of the Interior does business. We will make sure that we are holding energy companies accountable for their responsibilities.
We will make sure the American people are getting a fair return from their resources and we will work tirelessly to protect the safety of workers and the American environment.
And joining me today here who are the people who were also responsible for helping me in the implementation of this order, the Deputy Secretary of Interior, David Hayes, who has been overall in charge of the many efforts that we have been working on in the reform agenda of the Department,
Wilma Lewis who is the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals and where two of the functions we just described will be under,
Chris Henderson who is my Senior Advisor and who has been in charge of the efforts of reform in the Department relating to a number of things, but particularly focused on the recovery dollars that are being invested throughout the entire Department of the Interior.
Rhea Suh is not here with us today because of a medical issue that she’s dealing with so with that I’d be happy to open it up for any questions.