July 17, 2017

The Time Is Now: Tell The Senate That To Create Jobs And Reduce Business Costs It Must Approve Important Energy Nominations

Last Thursday, President Donald Trump nominated energy lawyer Kevin McIntyre to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC. As noted by Utility Drive, the FERC currently has just one sitting commissioner. President Trump has nominated Republican U.S. Senate staff member Neil Chatterjee, Pennsylvania utility regulator Robert Powelson, and Democratic U.S. Senate staff member Richard Glick for the commission as well, but the U.S. Senate has yet to approve those nominations.

It must do so soon.

The current lack of quorum on the FERC has significant implications for U.S. energy development. As Connecting the Dots noted two weeks ago, the lack of a quorum has delayed construction of several major pipeline projects, and threatens the schedules of several more. The Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance (EEIA), MSCI’s partner on energy issues, estimates that nearly $30 billion worth of construction is currently at risk because the FERC doesn’t have enough members.

Last week, the EEIA sent a letter to U.S. Senate leaders asking them to schedule a vote soon on the FERC nominations. The letter said:

“This situation has denied employment to over 50,000 construction workers, and thousands more who manufacture and supply the steel, equipment, concrete and aggregates, components and services these projects require. It has stranded hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of capital investment already made or pending, much of which by small businesses, to prepare the equipment and the support these projects' construction requires. Lack of quorum has also raised energy costs to consumers, manufacturers and other businesses because of the restricted supplies of natural gas these delayed projects would alleviate. Finally, it has blocked or slowed transition to cleaner—burning fuel for power generation, and impaired the ability to incorporate renewables into the electric grid.”

MSCI co-signed the EEIA’s letter and urges its members to call their senators to have them ask Senate leadership to schedule a vote. To do so, MSCI members can complete the EEIA’s Energy Builders Take Action page, which provides a link to send a letter urging a vote. The letter automatically will be sent from our members to their two senators.

We know that nothing is more effective than when a senator hears from his or her constituents—so please act now. As EEIA President and CEO Toby Mack has said, “Every day that goes by is one more day without progress on these approved projects that will help create jobs, grow our economy and help make America stronger.”