October 8, 2018

President Trump Nominates DOE Official For FERC

On Oct. 3, President Donald Trump formally announced the nomination of U.S. Department of Energy official Bernard McNamee to fill the vacancy on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) created in August with the resignation of Commissioner Robert Powelson. McNamee’s name had been floated but not formally submitted until last week.

McNamee’s confirmation would restore the commission to a five-member panel. Currently, the four members are at a stalemate and that deadlock has created delays in several pipeline and liquified natural gas (LNG) project approvals.

As a reminder, in July the Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) joined the Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance to send a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to quickly fill the position left on the FERC by Powelson’s departure. The letter argued, “In today’s politicized environment surrounding fossil fuel infrastructure … the lack of a supportive majority at FERC could subject these projects to indefinite lengthy delays.”

The U.S. Senate will now how to consider McNamee’s nomination in November or December. Any nominees that aren’t confirmed by the end of the year will have to be re-nominated and resubmitted in the new Congress that will convene in January. The letter, which can be found here, concluded by arguing, “Much is at stake for American workers and businesses. When construction begins, these projects will directly create tens of thousands of good construction-related jobs, along with thousands more throughout the country producing and supplying needed equipment, materials and services for construction. Without these pipelines in operation, thousands more jobs are at risk because the lack of natural gas transmission and processing capacity will strand potential production.”