Breaking: Neil Chatterjee Appointed as Chairman at FERC
Written By: Jen Neville
October 25, 2018
Chairman Neil Chatterjee was nominated to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by President Donald J. Trump in May 2017 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in August 2017. He served as Chairman from August 2017 to December 2017, and was again named Chairman on October 24, 2018. Prior to joining the Commission, he was energy policy advisor to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The move, announced by the White House, came after McIntyre did not attend two consecutive monthly meetings of the commission, which oversees wholesale electricity markets, natural gas pipelines and other major energy policy areas.
Confirming last week's rumors, McIntyre officially resigned three days ago as Chairman but will continue on as commissioner, according to a letter to President Trump which expressed that he has a medical condition even more serious than the brain tumor with which he was diagnosed last summer.
“It is with a heavy heart that I step into this role while my friend and colleague, Kevin McIntyre, focuses on what’s most important: his recovery and his family. I am confident that the Commission will continue to benefit from his consummate knowledge of the law and of energy policy through his service as Commissioner. On behalf of the entire FERC community, I wish Kevin and the McIntyre family continued strength and resolve at this challenging time."
These moves come as FERC is set to consider a number of high profile items including reform capacity markets in the PJM Interconnection and ISO New England, but also as the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners has called on FERC to move to allow state-level exemptions from PURPA. Chatterjee has been seen as pro-coal but also repeatedly stated his commitment to FERC’s neutrality and its mandate not to favor any energy source over others.
FERC is an independent commission that regulates interstate transmission and licenses hydropower projects. It is also responsible for approving LNG terminals and natural gas pipelines. There are currently four commissioners serving at FERC – Chairman Neil Chatterjee, Kevin McIntyre, Cheryl LaFleur, and Richard Glick.
The president had the authority to designate the chairman of FERC, and did not require Senate approval to do so.
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