Massey Nomination Sails Through Full Senate at Light Speed
In one of the speediest confirmations ever on Capitol Hill, the
Senate on Friday approved by unanimous consent the re-appointment
of Commissioner William L. Massey to a second five-year term on the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The Senate vote came only one day after his nomination was voted
out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and about
two weeks after the White House announced its intention to nominate
him to another term.
The Senate committee set the pace last week when it sent
Massey's nomination to the full Senate for approval immediately
following his confirmation hearing on Thursday. Rather than
scheduling a business meeting, as is normally done, members of the
Senate panel conferred just off the floor and voted by unanimous
consent to report his nomination favorably out of committee.
"It's not too surprising that it went this quickly," said Derek
Jumper, a spokesman for the committee. Massey was a
"non-controversial" candidate and was a sitting commissioner
seeking renomination to a second term, he noted.
At the confirmation hearing, which was short and
non-confrontational, Sen. Dale Bumpers (D-AR) referred to Massey as
"one of the shining lights" at the Commission. During his first
term, he took the lead in formulating merger policy at FERC,
Bumpers noted. A Democrat, Massey was chief counsel to Bumpers for
most of the 1980s. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) called him "another
talented person" from Arkansas.
The issues raised at the hearing were not directly related to
natural gas. They involved whether FERC has the authority to remove
hydroelectric dams, whether the Commission has the authority to
order electric transmission companies to relinquish their
facilities to independent system operators, whether it should
oversee the transmission facilities of the Tennessee Valley
Authority and Bonneville Power Administration, criticism of the
pace at which FERC moves on electric-related mergers, and repeal of
the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA).
Massey was first nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by
the Senate in May 1993. His current term expires June 30th. His
second term runs until June 30, 2003.
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