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Senate Committee Signals Thumbs-Up to Honorable's FERC Nomination

Colette D. Honorable's nomination to become a commissioner at FERC received bipartisan support during a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Thursday, and members said they hoped to complete the process before the congressional session ends early next month.

"She will be an outstanding member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission...She's honest, she's fair, she listens, she works harder than anyone I've ever seen, and I just think she'll be a great commissioner," said Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR), who, along with Sen. John Boozman (R-AR), introduced Honorable's nomination to the committee. "Just by virtue to Senator Boozman sitting here with me, you see that she has across-the-board support in Arkansas."

President Obama nominated Honorable, chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission (PSC), to FERC in August (see Daily GPI, Aug. 29). If confirmed by the Senate, Honorable would replace John Norris, who resigned from FERC effective Aug. 20, nearly three years before his term was due to expire (see Daily GPI, Aug. 8).

Honorable became a PSC commissioner in 2007 and has been chairman since 2011. She also serves as chairman of the board and president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. Before going to the PSC, Honorable served as executive director of the Arkansas Workforce Investment Board in 2007 and worked for Arkansas' then-Attorney General Mike Beebe in various roles, including as his chief of staff. She received a bachelor's degree from Memphis State University and a law degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

"If confirmed to serve at FERC, I would continue to build upon the work which I began several years ago in my beloved Arkansas, a place that has taught me so much: to do good, to listen to the opinions of others even when you don't agree, and to respect others and to serve the least of these," Honorable said. "This is an exciting time to work in the energy sector, but it is also a challenging time. I am up for this challenge."

Approval of Honorable's nomination by the committee seems certain, with most senators in attendance Thursday, representing both sides of the aisle, voicing their support.

"This is just a breath of fresh air because you're the first person that's been nominated to FERC that has truly had the experience to do the job that we're asking you to do," said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). "That's having regulatory experience, being recognized by your peers, having that expertise to bring immediately to something I think is very vulnerable, our grid system, and how we produced reliable, affordable and clean power in a balanced way. I appreciate that and look forward to your taking the reins."

Not present at the hearing was committee chairman Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), whose reelection campaign remains undecided nearly a month after the general election (see Daily GPI,Nov. 5). Landrieu will face Republican Bill Cassidy in a runoff Saturday. Both Landrieu and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who chaired the hearing in her place, have said they support Honorable's nomination.

Consideration of Honorable's nomination had been delayed following the unexpected death of her husband in September (see Daily GPI, Sept. 11).

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