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Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement

In May 2017, Scott Angelle became director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, which “oversees offshore oil and gas safety” and “is tasked with regulating, permitting, inspecting and investigating oil and gas production on the outer continental shelf.”

As Louisiana Secretary of Natural Resources, a position he held from 2004 until 2012, he “suddenly resigned” after a company his department had been tasked with regulating created a giant sinkhole. Angelle “led Louisiana’s push to lift the federal moratorium on Gulf Coast drilling imposed after BP PLC’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill” after Governor Bobby Jindal appointed him interim lieutenant governor. Angelle raised nearly $500,000 in donations from oil and gas companies in his three unsuccessful bids for elected office. He made “about $1.5 million” since 2012 as a board member of oil and gas pipeline company Sunoco Logistics Partners, while also sitting on the board of the Louisiana Public Service Commission.

Sources: [Mark Schleifstein, “Louisiana politician Scott Angelle chosen to head federal offshore oil safety agency,” Times-Picayune, 05/23/17, Dylan Brown, “La. official, industry board member to head BSEE,” Energy & Environment, 05/22/17, Tyler Bridges, “Scott Angelle’s close ties to oil helps his campaign for governor,” The Advocate, 10/21/15, Search for Scott Angelle, Follow The Money, accessed 6/20/17, Anthony Adragna, “Energy executive order arrives but won’t go far enough for some,” Politico Morning Energy, 03/28/17, Susan Buchanan, “Sinkhole spurs evacuations, lawsuits and an official resignation,” Louisiana Weekly, 08/20/12, and Mike Stagg, “For Scott Angelle, it’s complicated,” Acadiana Business, 11/28/16]

Special Interests

Angelle & Donohue (Resource Development on Public Lands)

In the 1980s, Angelle worked as an oil landman for Angelle & Donohue Oil and Gas Properties in Lafayette, Louisiana.

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Sunoco Logistics Partners (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Since 2012, Angelle has made about $1.5 million as a board member of oil and gas pipeline company Sunoco Logistics Partners, which is a partner in the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

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Arena Energy (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Arena Energy, a company that works to identify new drilling opportunities in the Gulf of Mexico, donated $5,000 to Angelle when he when he ran for the Louisiana Public Service Commission and another $5,000 to his gubernatorial campaign.

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Encana Oil and Gas (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Encana Oil and Gas, an oil and gas company, donated $5,000 to Angelle when he when he ran for the Louisiana Public Service Commission and another $5,000 to his gubernatorial campaign.

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Gulfport Energy Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Gulfport Energy Corporation, a natural gas and oil company, donated $5,000 to Angelle when he when he ran for the Louisiana Public Service Commission.

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Atmos Energy Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Atmos Energy Corporation, a natural-gas distributor, donated $5,000 to Angelle when he when he ran for the Louisiana Public Service Commission, $10,000 to his gubernatorial campaign, and $15,000 to his congressional campaign.

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Chesapeake Energy (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Chesapeake Energy, an oil and natural gas company, donated $5,000 to Angelle when he when he ran for the Louisiana Public Service Commission.

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Chevron (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Multinational energy corporation Chevron donated $2,000 to Angelle when he when he ran for the Louisiana Public Service Commission and $10,000 to Angelle when he ran for Congress.

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South Coast Gas Company (Resource Development on Public Lands)

South Coast Gas Company, a natural gas distribution company, donated $5,000 to Angelle when he when he ran for the Louisiana Public Service Commission.

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Sable Minerals (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Sable Minerals, a company in the oil and gas industry, donated $5,000 to Angelle when he ran for Governor of Louisiana.

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Helis Oil & Gas (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Helis Oil & Gas, an oil and gas exploration and production company, donated $5,000 to Angelle when he ran for Governor of Louisiana.

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Energy Transfer Partners (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Energy Transfer Partners, which owns and operates a diversified portfolio of energy assets, donated $5,000 to Angelle when he ran for Governor of Louisiana and $5,000 to his congressional campaign.

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Apollo Energy (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Apollo Energy Corporation, a company that operates wind farms, donated $5,000 to Angelle when he ran for Governor of Louisiana.

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Haliburton (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Multinational oil and natural gas corporation Halliburton donated $3,000 to Angelle's campaign when he ran for Congress.

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Occidental Petroleum Corporation (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Occidental Petroleum Corporation, an international oil and gas exploration company, donated $2,500 to Angelle's campaign when he ran for Congress.

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National Ocean Industries Association (Resource Development on Public Lands)

National Ocean Industries Association, an offshore industry group, donated $2,500 to Angelle when he ran for Congress.

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Freeport-McMoRan (Resource Development on Public Lands)

When he ran for Governor of Louisiana, Angelle received support from a super PAC called Louisiana Rising, which took $1.25 million from James Flores, then the CEO of the oil and gas subsidiary of Freeport-McMoRan mining company.

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Texas Brine Company (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Angelle suddenly resigned from his position as Louisiana Secretary of Natural Resources after independent brine producer Texas Brine Company, which his department had been tasked with regulating, created a giant sinkhole.

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Noble Energy (Resource Development on Public Lands)

Noble Energy Inc., an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company, donated $2,000 to Angelle when he ran for Congress in 2016.

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Copestone (Resource Development on Public Lands)

According to Angelle's 2017 financial disclosure, before working at Interior, oil and gas company Copestone Inc. paid Angelle for "research services."

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Background Information

Previous Employers

Additional Background on Employers of Note:

Scott Angelle resigned abruptly from his position as Louisiana Secretary of Natural Resources in August 2012, after a giant sinkhole formed in Assumption Parish, Louisiana. Angelle’s department had been in charge of regulating Texas Brine, the company “deemed… responsible” for the “sinkhole’s formation by state experts.”

Scott Angelle was the Louisiana Secretary of Natural Resources from 2004 to 2012, originally appointed by Governor Kathleen Blanco, and then re-appointed by Governor Bobby Jindal in 2008. While he was the Louisiana Secretary of Natural Resources, Scott Angelle “oversaw Louisiana’s Office of Mineral Resources, which has purview over oil and gas leasing and drilling operations in the state.” Angelle’s “tenure included the dramatic expansion” of fracking in Louisiana, including “the development of more than 2,000 wells in the Haynesville Shale field in northwest Louisiana.”

[Dylan Brown, “La. official, industry board member to head BSEE,” Energy & Environment, 05/22/17, and Mark Schleifstein, “Louisiana politician Scott Angelle chosen to head federal offshore oil safety agency,” Times-Picayune, 05/23/17]

In August 2012, under Scott Angelle’s leadership as Louisiana Secretary of Natural Resources, a sinkhole that was “400 feet wide and more than 400 feet deep in spots” formed in Assumption Parish, Louisiana. The sinkhole resulted from the “collapse of a massive salt dome” that “sat deep below the bayou.” The salt dome was operated by Texas Brine, “the largest independent brine producer in the United States,” and was “regulated by the Office of Conservation — a branch of DNR.”

“Texas Brine was deemed the responsible party” for the “sinkhole’s formation by state experts.” Five days after Governor Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency in the area, Angelle “suddenly resigned” from the Department of Natural Resources. Before the sinkhole developed on August 3, 2012, residents of the area “said they’d seen natural gas bubbles and felt tremors for over two months.” Texas Brine officers met with Department of Natural Resources officials “four days before the sinkhole formed.” Critics observed that the timing of Angelle’s resignation was suspicious, and that Angelle had “‘always support[ed] big business.'”

[Kevin Litten, “Scott Angelle pushes back on David Vitter’s attacks over Bayou Corne,” Times-Picayune, 09/23/15, Susan Buchanan, “Sinkhole spurs evacuations, lawsuits and an official resignation,” Louisiana Weekly, 08/20/12, David Mitchell, “Four years later last evacuation [sic] orders lifted at Bayou Corne sinkhole,” The Advocate, 10/97/16 and “The Company,” Texas Brine Company, accessed 06/21/17]

As Louisiana interim lieutenant governor, Scott Angelle “led Louisiana’s push to lift the federal moratorium on Gulf Coast drilling imposed after BP PLC’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill” and “met frequently with Interior officials” to try to get permitting restored in the Gulf of Mexico.

When Scott Angelle was Louisiana’s interim lieutenant governor for six months 2010, he “led Louisiana’s push to lift the federal moratorium on Gulf Coast drilling imposed after BP PLC’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill.” In particular, he “met frequently with Interior officials in trying to get permitting restored in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and 2011.”

[Dylan Brown, “La. official, industry board member to head BSEE,” Energy & Environment, 05/22/17, and Mark Schleifstein, “Louisiana politician Scott Angelle chosen to head federal offshore oil safety agency,” Times-Picayune, 05/23/17]

Since December 2012, Scott Angelle made “about $1.5 million” as a board member of oil and gas pipeline company Sunoco Logistics Partners, which is a partner on the construction of DAPL.

While Angelle sat on the board of Sunoco, he was also a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission, an agency that regulates intrastate pipelines. Angelle insisted serving on the two boards simultaneously did not constitute a conflict of interest because “Sunoco’s pipelines are regulated by the federal government.”

Since December 2012, Scott Angelle has worked a “$380,000-a-year job” as a board member of oil and gas pipeline company Sunoco Logistics Partners LP. For his four years of board service with Sunoco, “Angelle was paid about $1.5 million.” Sunoco Logistics was a partner “in the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline being built to move oil from North Dakota’s Bakken fields to refineries on the Gulf Coast and elsewhere.”

Sources: [Dylan Brown, “La. official, industry board member to head BSEE,” Energy & Environment, 05/22/17, Tyler Bridges, “Scott Angelle’s close ties to oil helps his campaign for governor,” The Advocate, 10/21/15, and Mike Stagg, “For Scott Angelle, it’s complicated,” Cadiana Business, 11/28/16]

In 2014, Scott Angelle earned $52,000 for his part-time job as an elected member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission, an “independent regulatory agency” entrusted with regulating “intrastate pipelines.” The same year, he also “earned $194,000 in income and future stock options while serving as a board member of Sunoco Logistics,” “an oil and gas pipeline company” whose pipelines “traverse Louisiana.”

Sources:[Tyler Bridges, “Scott Angelle’s close ties to oil helps his campaign for governor,” The Advocate, 10/21/15, Mark Ballard, “Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle has reputation for persistent persuasion,” The Advocate, 10/05/15, and “Welcome to the Louisiana Public Service Commission Website,” Louisiana Public Service Commission, accessed 06/21/17, and “About the Louisiana Public Service Commission,” Louisiana Public Service Commission, accessed 06/21/17]

Political Connections

Scott Angelle has taken in more than $450,000 in political contributions from the oil and gas industry.

Scott Angelle, when he ran for a seat on the Louisiana Public Service Commission in 2012, received $73,810 in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry. In particular, he received $5,000 from Arena Energy, $5,000 from Encana Oil and Gas, $5,000 from Gulfport Energy Corporation, $5,000 from Atmos Energy Corporation, $5,000 from Chesapeake Energy, $2,000 from Chevron, and $2,000 from South Coast Gas Co. Inc.

[Search for Scott Angelle, Follow The Money, accessed 6/20/17]

Scott Angelle, when he ran for Governor of Louisiana in 2015, received $228,450 in donations from the oil and gas industry. In particular, he received $5,000 from Sable Minerals, $5,000 from Arena Energy, $10,000 from Atmos Energy Corporation, $5,000 from Encana Oil and Gas, $5,000 from Helis Oil & Gas, $5,000 from Energy Transfer Partners, and $5,000 from Apollo Energy.

[Search for Scott Angelle, Follow The Money, accessed 6/20/17]

Scott Angelle, when he ran for Congress in 2016, received $149,650 in donations from the oil and gas industry. In particular, he received $15,000 from Atmos Energy, $10,000 from Chevron, $5,000 from Energy Transfer Partners, $3,000 from Halliburton, $2,500 from Occidential Petroleum, and $2,500 from the National Ocean Industries Association.

[Search for Scott Angelle, Follow The Money, accessed 6/20/17]

In 2015, Scott Angelle was supported by a super PAC that got $1.25 million in funding from the CEO of the oil and gas subsidiary of Freeport-McMoRan mining company.

In his 2015 campaign for Louisiana Governor, Scott Angelle “received support from a super PAC called Louisiana Rising, which took $1.25 million from James Flores, then the CEO of the oil and gas subsidiary of Freeport-McMoRan mining company.”

[Jack Fitzpatrick, “Interior’s Pick to Lead Offshore Oil Regulator Has Industry Ties,” Morning Consult, 05/22/17]

Current Activity

Potential Conflict of Interest:

Scott Angelle, in 2014, received $194,000 in total compensation from Sunoco Logistics, an oil and gas pipeline company, of which, “$101,000 was in stock options that also would not vest for another three years.”

[Tyler Bridges, “Scott Angelle’s close ties to oil helps his campaign for governor,” The Advocate, 10/21/15]

Industry Meetings While at Interior: 

Between May 2017 and February 2018, Scott Angelle spent over 98 hours meeting with the oil and gas industry and less than 2 hours meeting with NGOs.

According to an analysis of Scott Angelle’s calendar, from May 2017 to February 2018, as Director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Angelle “spent over 98 hours with oil and gas industry lobbyists and executives,” while, during the same time period, he spent “just 105 minutes with NGOS.”

[Jesse Coleman, “SCOTT ANGELLE, BSEE DIRECTOR, FAVORS MEETINGS WITH OIL INDUSTRY DONORS TO HIS PAST CAMPAIGNS,” Documented Investigations, 03/12/18]

Many of the oil and gas companies Angelle has met with since becoming BSEE director were also former campaign contributors, including Taylor Energy, who is currently petitioning BSEE to absolve the company of responsibility for its leaking oil wells that are polluting the Gulf of Mexico.

Since he started as Director of BSEE, Angelle has “frequently met with companies that contributed to his failed bids for elected office.” His May 2017 to February 2018 schedule includes “many hours of visits with Targa Resources, LLOG,  Louisiana Mid Continent Oil and Gas Association (LMOGA), Chevron, Hilcorp, Arena Energy, Fieldwood Energy, and Taylor Energy. Together those companies contributed $88,750 to Angelle’s campaigns from 2012 to 2016.”

In particular, Taylor Energy “owns the most polluting oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico, which have been leaking for 13 years.” Taylor Energy CEO Phyllis Taylor has contributed $13,100 to Angelle in his past races, and she is currently “petitioning BSEE to absolve the company of responsibility for the leaking wells, and return a $432 million trust fund set aside for the leak.” Coincidentally, Taylor Energy is also a former lobbying client of Interior Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt.

[Jesse Coleman, “SCOTT ANGELLE, BSEE DIRECTOR, FAVORS MEETINGS WITH OIL INDUSTRY DONORS TO HIS PAST CAMPAIGNS,” Documented Investigations, 03/12/18]

Angelle’s meetings with industry coincide with Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement “actions beneficial to the companies he’s met with.”

“Under Angelle, BSEE inspections have dropped 15% below what the Obama administration conducted over a similar timeframe.” Additionally, facility shut-ins, which are “enforced when an immediate threat to safety or the environment is detected,” have dropped 39% compared to previous levels under the Obama administration.

In December 2017, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement “issued a decision to end a study into offshore oil and gas drilling safety being conducted by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.”

[Jesse Coleman, “SCOTT ANGELLE, BSEE DIRECTOR, FAVORS MEETINGS WITH OIL INDUSTRY DONORS TO HIS PAST CAMPAIGNS,” Documented Investigations, 03/12/18; Kyla Mandel, “Director of offshore safety and environment bureau meets almost exclusively with industry,” ThinkProgress, 03/13/18]

Financials

Financial Disclosure

[Office of Government Ethics]

Department of Interior Salary: $170,000

[Scott Angelle, ProPublica’s Trump Town, accessed 03/13/18]

Other Information

Scott Angelle used to be a Democrat but “his support for fossil fuel interests led [him] to switch political parties in 2010.”

[Dylan Brown, “La. official, industry board member to head BSEE,” Energy & Environment, 05/22/17]

Scott Angelle was accused of interviewing for a job on Sunoco Logistics’ Board of Directors and then seeking reimbursement from the State of Louisiana for travel expenses.

In 2015, Scott Angelle was accused by David Vitter’s campaign staff of interviewing for the job on Sunoco’s Logistics’ board “during an October 2011 trip to Dallas but sought reimbursement from the state for $329.67 in travel expenses.” Angelle denied the claims, saying he met with Energy Transfer Partners as the Department of Natural Resources Secretary “to discuss a project the company was considering in southwest Louisiana.”

[Mark Ballard, “Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle has reputation for persistent persuasion,” The Advocate, 10/05/15]