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NatGas Industry Groups Join In Call For Senate Action on FERC Nominations

More than two dozen associations, including some representing the natural gas industry, are pressing the Senate to confirm President Trump's nominations to FERC, nominally a five-member commission, currently in limbo with only one commissioner.

The 25 organizations, led by the Energy and Equipment Infrastructure Alliance (EEIA) and including the Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA) and the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America's (INGAA) INGAA Foundation, cited job loss, economic stagnation, and lack of progress on existing and new pipelines as a result of the leadership vacuum at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. In a letter to Senate leaders the group said multiple projects have cleared FERC staff review and now require only final FERC votes of approval.

"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," said EEIA CEO Toby Mack. "We're pleased to have such strong support on our letter and our effort to get these important officials confirmed so we can get moving again on job creation and building the modern energy infrastructure our country so desperately needs."

FERC has not had a quorum since Chairman Norman Bay resigned Feb. 3.

The letter comes nearly two weeks after Colette Honorable's final day at FERC, leaving only Acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur on the Commission, and five weeks after the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee gave its approval to two Trump FERC nominees -- Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson.

However, the full Senate, which must approve those nominations, has yet to take up the issue. The nominations were placed on the Senate Executive Calendar June 6, but the Senate, engaged in a lengthy take-no-prisoners war over health care, had scheduled no votes as of Thursday.

Adding balance in an attempt to move the nominations along, Trump announced June 28 his intent to nominate DemocratRichard Glick, currently general counsel for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, to be a commissioner of FERC. If all three were to be approved that would give the Commission two Republican and two Democratic members, not to mention a quorum.  But the energy committee has yet to schedule a hearing on the Glick nomination and, according to the White House website, his name has yet to be formally forwarded to the committee for consideration.

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.

In June, 30 trade associations, including NGSA, INGAA and others representing the natural gas and oil industry, urged Senate leaders to act quickly on Trump's FERC nominations. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) have expressed their frustration at the continuing lack of a quorum at FERC.

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