The Trump administration has appointed a former Louisiana regulator and political veteran to head the Department of Interior's (DOI) Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).
DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke said he tapped Scott Angelle for the top post at the BSEE, citing his "wealth of experience" in the offshore. Angelle, who most recently served as vice chairman of the Louisiana Public Service Commission (PSC), is to assume his new position on Tuesday. The appointment is not subject to Senate approval.
"As we set our path toward energy dominance, I am confident that Scott has the expertise, vision, and the leadership necessary to effectively enhance our program, and to promote the safe and environmentally responsible exploration, development, and production of our country's offshore oil and gas resources," Zinke said Monday.
The BSEE was formed in 2011 following a revamp of the former Minerals Management Services, which initially created its twin agency, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. BSEE’s formation followed a review of BP plc’s Macondo well blowout in 2010 in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico (GOM), which was found to have resulted in part from safety lapses. The BSEE is tasked with ensuring safe and responsible energy development on the Outer Continental Shelf and making sure the federal government receives fair royalties on offshore production.
Under an executive order (EO) signed by Trump last April, BSEE is required to review its proposed Well Control Rule, which the bureau developed in response to Macondo. The EO also directed DOI to consider allowing oil and gas leasing in several offshore areas, including the Atlantic and Arctic oceans, the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, Alaska's Cook Inlet and the GOM.
Angelle, a former Democrat who switched to the Republican party in 2010, said he looked forward to working with the Trump administration, Zinke and BSEE staff. "It is an exciting and challenging time for BSEE," he said. "I look forward to leading our efforts to empower the offshore oil and gas industry while ensuring safe and environmentally responsible operations."
According to biographies posted online by BSEE and PSC, Angelle was elected president of Louisiana's St. Martin Parish in 1993. During that time, he worked as a petroleum landman for Angelle & Donohue Oil & Gas Properties Inc., and served as vice president for the Huval Cos.
In 2004, Angelle was appointed secretary of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR), a post he held until 2012 -- serving under Democratic Gov. Kathleen Blanco and Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal -- except for a six-month period in 2010. Angelle briefly left the DNR after Jindal appointed him interim lieutenant governor to fill the vacancy left by Mitch Landrieu, who was elected mayor of New Orleans. Angelle returned to the DNR in November 2010.
Angelle's brief tenure as lieutenant governor came in the aftermath of Macondo. At Jindal's request, Angelle served as liaison to the federal government and helped negotiate an early end to the Obama administration's moratorium on offshore drilling in the GOM following the Macondo tragedy.
After leaving the DNR in 2012, Angelle was elected to the PSC to represent District 2. The district includes the Louisiana parishes of East Feliciana, Lafayette, Lafourche, Pointe Coupee, St. Martin, St. Mary, Terrebonne and West Feliciana, as well as precincts of the East Baton Rouge, Iberia, Iberville, Livingston and West Baton Rouge parishes.
Angelle ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor in 2015, losing by a narrow margin in the Republican primary to U.S. Sen. David Vitter. He also lost an election to represent Louisiana's 3rd congressional district in 2016.
Angelle also is previous chairman of the Louisiana State Mineral Board and has been a member of the Louisiana State University Board of Supervisors, the Southern States Energy Board, the Louisiana Coastal Port Advisory Authority and the board at Sunoco Logistics Partners LP.