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Reports: Trump to Nominate 3 to FERC

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

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President Donald J. Trump is expected to nominate three new members to the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee, potentially restarting business for the federal panel, which regulates interstate natural gas pipelines and other energy infrastructure.

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday (March 9) that Trump will nominate Pennsylvania utility regulator Robert Powelson, Senate energy adviser Neil Chatterjee, and Jones Day attorney Kevin McIntyre, who is expected to be named chair of the commission.

Natural gas pipeline
© / ssuaphoto

FERC, which regulates interstate gas pipelines, has lacked a quorum to make decisions since early February.

FERC has been without a quorum since early February, when commissioner Norman Bay resigned. The commission is intended to be a five-person body, but a quorum for business is three commissioners. When Bay resigned, after Cheryl LaFleur was named acting chair, the commission dropped to just two members.

About the Potential Nominees

Powelson is a commissioner with the Pennsylvania Utilities Commission. Nominated originally by Gov. Ed Rendell in 2008, he is serving a term that would last through 2019, were he not to move on to FERC. He served on the Marcellus Shale Advisory Committee in that state in 2011 under Gov. Tom Corbett.

Chatterjee has served as a legislative aide and policy advisor to the Senate Majority Leader since 2009. He has generally served the senator on issues related to energy and agriculture.

McIntyre is co-head of Jones Day’s global energy practice. His experience relates largely to government regulation of pipelines, oil and gas utilities and the energy market, and he has worked with many oil and gas industry clients on matters of FERC compliance.

Pipelines Approved, Pipelines in Limbo

Before Bay’s resignation took effect, the commission gave certification to seven new interstate pipelines:

  • Atlantic Sunrise Expansion (eastern and central Pennsylvania);
  • Northern Access 2016 Project (northwestern Pennsylvania and southwestern New York);
  • Northern Lights Expansion 2017 (Minnesota);
  • Orion Pipeline Project (northwestern Pennsulvania);
  • Leach Xpress and Rayne Xpress (Tennessee to Texas);
  • Rover Pipeline Project (western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio to Indiana and Michigan); and
  • Transco to Charleston Project (South Carolina).

One notable pending project that did not get approval before Bay’s departure was the Nexus Gas Transmission project, a Spectra Energy project that would involve constructing a 255-mile natural gas pipeline to move 1.5 billion cubic feet per day from eastern Ohio to Michigan.


Tagged categories: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC); Government; North America; Oil and Gas; Pipeline; President Trump; Program/Project Management

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