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Full House at FERC? Trump to Nominate Jones Day’s Kevin McIntyre as Chairman

President Trump intends to nominate Kevin McIntyre, an attorney with the law firm Jones Day who currently serves as co-head of the global energy practice, to FERC and install him as chairman, the White House said late Thursday.

Trump plans to nominate McIntyre to a term expiring June 30, 2018, and an additional term expiring June 30, 2023, according to the White House.

McIntyre, who is a Republican, has practiced law at Jones Day for most of his nearly 30-year legal career. He is a graduate of San Diego State University and Georgetown Law.

"Mr. McIntyre is a recognized leader in the United States energy regulatory arena, with an expansive Federal Energy Regulatory Commission practice representing clients in all industry sectors -- natural gas, conventional electricity, oil, hydropower, wind power and other renewable resources, and energy marketing and trading," the White House said. "His work for energy clients spans administrative and appellate litigation, compliance and enforcement matters, and corporate transactions."

FERC, nominally a five-member commission, has not had a quorum since Chairman Norman Bay resigned Feb. 3, and was reduced to a single member, Acting Chairman  -- and Democrat -- Cheryl LaFleur, when Colette Honorable left at the end of June. Throwing McIntyre’s hat into the ring makes four candidates in various stages of the nomination and confirmation process.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee gave its approval to two Trump FERC nominees -- Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson -- more than a month ago, but the full Senate, which must approve those nominations, has yet to take up the issue.

The nominations of Chatterjee and Powelson, who are Republicans, 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 Friday. By law, no more than three members of FERC may be from the same political party.

Adding balance in an attempt to move the nominations along, the Trump administration announced June 28 his intent to nominate Democrat Richard Glick, currently general counsel for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, as a FERC commissioner. If all three were to be approved that would give the Commission two Republican and two Democratic members, not to mention a quorum. 

However, the Senate’s 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.

Rumors of McIntyre's possible nomination as FERC Chairman had been heard in Washington, DC, for months.

"We applaud the administration for taking another step in the process of restoring a quorum at FERC," said Natural Gas Supply Association CEO Dena Wiggins following news of McIntyre's pending nomination. "Kevin McIntyre has years of experience in energy expertise and we hope that the Senate will move quickly to consider his nomination, along with Neil Chatterjee, Richard Glick, and Rob Powelson. FERC has lacked a quorum since February and the billions of dollars of investment and thousands of job opportunities in the U.S. continue to be sidelined by a lack of a quorum at FERC. It is essential that the nominees be given the opportunity to be approved as quickly as possible."

Because of the lack of a quorum, FERC has not held a regular monthly meeting since January. The value of the Commission's backlog of pipeline projects awaiting approval is estimated at $4 billion today and could grow to more than $17 billion by October, ClearView Energy Partners LLC said in a note to clients Friday.

The White House announcement came as more than two dozen associations, including some representing the natural gas industry, pressed the Senate to confirm Trump's nominations to FERC. Last month, 30 trade associations 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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