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The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has scheduled a Sept. 7 hearing to consider the nominations of Richard Glick and Kevin McIntyre to be members of FERC.
Glick is a Democrat, McIntyre a Republican. If they and two other Republicans whose nominations have been stalled in the Senate are confirmed it would restore the quorum that has been absent at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission since February and return FERC to its full five-member status. Acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur, a Democrat, is currently the only FERC commissioner.
Glick, currently general counsel for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, would serve the remainder of a five-year term expiring June 30, 2022.
Before 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 multi-state electric utility company. Between 1998 and 2001, Glick served as a senior policy adviser to President Clinton's Department of Energy Secretary Bill Richardson.
McIntyre, an attorney with Jones Day who currently serves as co-head of the global energy practice, was nominated to a term expiring June 30, 2018, and an additional term expiring June 30, 2023, according to the White House.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee gave its approval to two Trump FERC nominees -- Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson -- two months 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 healthcare and now contemplating a summer recess -- had scheduled no votes as of Thursday. By law, no more than three members of FERC may be from the same political party.
The White House and Senate have been pressed from all sides to rebuild FERC's quorum. Nearly three months ago, Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) called the nomination process "torturously slow," and she and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) have expressed their frustration at the continuing lack of a quorum at FERC. Dozens of associations, including some representing the natural gas industry, pressed the Senate to confirm Trump's nominations to FERC. In June, 30 trade associations urged Senate leaders to act quickly on Trump's FERC nominations.
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 was estimated at $4 billion in July and could grow to more than $17 billion by October, according to ClearView Energy Partners LLC. FERC's website lists 46 major pipeline projects pending, some filed as long ago as 2014.
FERC staff recently issued a favorable final environmental impact statement for TransCanada Corp.'s Mountaineer XPress and Gulf XPress expansion projects, for example, but the Senate would need to restore the Commission's quorum before any new natural gas pipeline projects may be approved for construction. The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is in much the same situation.
Management for NextEra Energy Inc. has said FERC's quorum needs to be restored soon or else it could put the Mountain Valley Pipeline gas project schedule at risk. And the Nexus Gas Transmission pipeline, originally planned for service in late 2017, won't start up until sometime in 2018 due to the ongoing wait for a certificate decision from the currently quorumless FERC, executives for backer DTE Energy Co. said recently.