How former Louisiana political warrior Scott Angelle is shaping U.S. energy policy in new role

The Advocate | Mark Ballard | December 24, 2017

Scott Angelle’s life cycles recently have become something akin to an oilfield worker, which kind of fits because he now regulates offshore drilling for the federal government.

“I see my family every 21 days,” Angelle said in an interview last week from Washington, D.C. “Since I have no family here, it’s all work for me, 14 hours a day.”

Once a ubiquitous presence on the Louisiana political scene, Angelle arrived in D.C. in May to become director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. It’s a job historically held by an unknown bureaucrat with an office in the massive U.S. Department of Interior building, three blocks from the White House.

But President Donald Trump is pushing American “energy dominance” as a cornerstone of his presidency. This puts Angelle at the president’s shoulder for enabling domestic fossil fuels production.

In October, the Trump administration proposed opening nearly 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico — the largest offering in U.S. history — for oil and gas drilling. The lease sales are scheduled for March.

On Nov. 28, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement approved energy exploration in the Arctic.

And just before the Christmas holiday, Angelle’s office suspended as duplicative a study meant to improve how regulators enforce safety on offshore rigs in the wake of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 and spilled an estimated 3.2 million barrels of oil 40 miles off the coast of Louisiana.

All this activity has enraged environmentalists, but it falls in line with Angelle’s beliefs.

“This is a really, really impactful job for America, and it’s really important to Louisiana’s economy,” said Angelle, who previously oversaw oilfield activity in Louisiana as secretary of the Department of Natural Resources under two governors.

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