President Donald Trump on Monday announced he planned to appoint Neil Chatterjee and Rob Powelson to fill two of the three vacancies in the FERC leadership, according to an official White House statement.
Chatterjee, a senior energy adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Powelson, a Pennsylvania regulator, would take positions that expire in 2021 and 2020, respectively. POLITICO has reported that both were expected to be tapped for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The new Republican members would, if confirmed by the Senate, restore the agency’s quorum.
FERC has been operating with just two sitting commissioners for more than two months, since Norman Bay resigned the chairmanship after Trump elevated Cheryl LaFleur to that position. While staff can address most of the agency’s business, the absence of a quorum hinders FERC’s ability to enact final orders dealing with interstate natural gas pipeline projects and contested electricity rate plans.
POLITICO has also reported that Kevin McIntyre, who co-leads Jones Day’s global energy practice, is expected to fill the third FERC vacancy. Some sources have suggested that he may be in line for the chairmanship.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski has vowed to prioritize moving new FERC nominees through her committee, although the full confirmation process could easily take several weeks to complete.