President Trump late Wednesday announced his intent to nominate a Democrat, Richard Glick, currently general counsel for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, to be a commissioner of FERC, a move that may give it a quorum by advancing the previous nominations of two Republicans through the Senate.
Glick would serve the remainder of a five-year term expiring June 30, 2022. Without the potential new members, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission would be down to a single commissioner, Acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur, with the scheduled retirement Friday of Commissioner Colette Honorable.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee gave its approval recently to two Republican Trump FERC nominees -- Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson -- but they must be confirmed by the full Senate before taking office. Their nominations were placed on the Senate Executive Calendar June 6, but the full Senate, engaged in a take-no-prisoners war over health care, has not scheduled a vote.
Since Glick and LaFleur, also a Democrat, would maintain a political balance, the Senate may be more likely to act. Glick first would have to gain the Senate energy committee approval. The president may still name a fifth commissioner to the agency and designate a new chairman.
Prior to joining the committee staff in February 2016, Glick was vice president of government affairs for Iberdrola’s renewable energy, electric and gas utility, and natural gas storage businesses in the United States. He previously served as a director of government affairs for PPM Energy and before that was a director of government affairs for PacifiCorp, a multistate electric utility company.
Between 1998 and 2001 Glick served as a senior policy adviser to President Clinton’s Department of Energy Secretary Bill Richardson. Before that Glick was the legislative director and chief counsel to Sen. Dale Bumpers of Arkansas.
From 1988 to1992 Glick was an associate with the law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand. He received a bachelors degree from George Washington University and a juris doctorate from the Georgetown University Law Center.
"We respect Glick’s depth of experience and subject-matter expertise, and urge the president to follow up soon with a formal nomination," said Don Santa, CEO of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America. "It is our hope that nominating Glick for the soon-to-be-open Democratic seat will facilitate a bipartisan agreement in the Senate on restoring a quorum at FERC."
Trump nominated Chatterjee, a longtime energy policy adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, for the term expiring June 30, 2021; the seat was previously held by Tony Clark, who left FERC last September. Powelson, a member of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, was nominated for a term expiring June 30, 2020, for the seat previously held by Philip Moeller, who left FERC in October 2015. Powelson currently is president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and is on the Electric Power Research Institute advisory board.
There have been reports that Trump plans to nominate Kevin McIntyre to FERC and install him as chairman. McIntyre is an attorney with law firm Jones Day and currently serves as co-head of the global energy practice.
Because of the lack of a quorum FERC has not held a regular monthly meeting since January.