Even as President Biden has stressed the short-term need to increase oil and natural gas output and expedite liquefied natural gas (LNG) project development, the 2023 budget released by the administration Monday focuses almost entirely on transitioning away from fossil fuels.

President Biden

The president’s 2023 budget request for $5.3 trillion total includes funds for the Department of Energy (DOE) that could amount to $48.2 billion in discretionary funding, up 15.1% year/year. The main areas are domestic clean energy manufacturing, environmental cleanup/justice and the security of the nuclear weapons stockpile.

The administration said the budget is aimed at achieving Biden’s climate goals of a 50-52% reduction from 2005 levels in economy-wide net greenhouse gas pollution by 2030, on the road to a zero-emissions economy by no later than 2050. The president has also set a goal of achieving a carbon pollution-free power grid by 2035.

The budget “sends a clear message to the American people” of “what we value,” Biden said.

The Biden budget would invest $2.1 billion to support clean energy workforce development and infrastructure, $9.2 billion in DOE clean energy research and development, $7.8 billion to support university research in climate change and new technologies and $7.6 billion in environmental management and cleanup. The White House is also seeking a 25% budget boost to $11.9 billion for the Environmental Protection Agency. 

The budget proposal also includes $478.9 million for the U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. These agencies oversee oil and gas programs across public lands.

The budget also includes funds to “modernize the U.S. nuclear deterrent” and improve cybersecurity. 

“After a year of unprecedented economic growth that resulted in over $500 billion in deficit reduction, the president’s budget reflects his commitment to protecting our national security, cleaning up legacy pollution from historic nuclear activities, and transitioning the U.S. to clean energy,” said DOE Secretary Jennifer M. Granholm. “As we facilitate the transition to clean energy, the investments reflected in this latest budget will cut costs for Americans and secure our energy independence on our path towards a net-zero future.” 

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Last week, the White House pledged to expedite approvals for LNG projects and coordinate additional LNG supplies to Europe to end the continent’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels by 2027. Amid a tight global oil and gas market driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Biden administration has also urged domestic operators to up supply.

“We are on war footing – an emergency – and we have to responsibly increase short-term supply where we can right now to stabilize the market and to minimize harm to American families,” Granholm told the audience at CERAWeek by S&P Global in Houston in early March. 

However, the country can “walk and chew gum at the same time,” she said, or in other words push toward its clean energy objectives while also working to ensure security of supply.

Traditional Energy Boosts

The Corpus Christi Ship Channel improvement project in South Texas was also included in the budget. Recommended funding targets project closeout appropriations of $157.3 million.

Once approved by Congress, the funds would enable the completion of the project. The Port of Corpus Christi is the largest gateway for U.S. energy exports and the third largest seaport in the nation in total waterway tonnage.

This is “a clear signal that the administration values the American energy sector while recognizing the importance of exporting U.S. energy to our allies and partners,” Port of Corpus Christi CEO Sean Strawbridge said. “The Corpus Christi Ship Channel Improvement Project – once completed next year – will significantly increase U.S. exports of energy and agriculture products from Texas and the United States. This project also supports the U.S. military, whose reliance on our port infrastructure is key to their increased mobility.”

Oil, Gas Tax Hike?

The budget also includes plans to roll back tax breaks on oil and gas firms. The cuts could be worth $45 billion in potential proceeds over 10 years.

American Exploration and Production Council CEO Anne Bradbury said the energy tax increases proposed by the administration “would disincentivize additional production, decrease supply, and subsequently increase energy costs for families at a time of historic inflation and record-high gasoline prices.”