When the gavel sounded Thursday on the opening of FERC's monthly meeting in Washington, DC, there were only three commissioners at the table, while two chairs, including one normally held by Chairman Kevin McIntyre, were empty.
"I apologize for not being at today's Commission meeting, as I had fully intended to be present," McIntyre said in a statement read by Commissioner Neil Chatterjee. "However, my ongoing recovery prevents me from being here in person today."
Earlier this year, McIntyre revealed that he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2017 and has since undergone successful surgery. His recovery has not kept him from fulfilling a full schedule, including previous Federal Energy Regulatory Commission meetings, hearings on Capitol Hill and speaking engagements.
"While my health situation has impacted my mobility, it has not impacted my ability to get the Commission's work done, and I'm proud to report that the Commission continues to move full steam ahead on all fronts," McIntyre said.
McIntyre, who had been co-head of the global energy practice at Jones Day, was nominated by President Trump in July 2017 to a term at FERC that expired June 30 and an additional term expiring June 30, 2023. He was confirmed by the Senate in November 2017.
Chatterjee, who was acting chairman prior to McIntyre's confirmation, led FERC's monthly open meeting Thursday.
The scene was reminiscent of FERC meetings last fall when, after months without a quorum, the chairmanship shifted from Cheryl LaFleur to Neil Chatterjee, Robert Powelson came aboard, and McIntyre and Richard Glick awaited their Senate confirmations.
The fifth seat at the table has remained empty following Powelson's exit last month to become president and CEO of the National Association of Water Companies.
It is assumed that President Trump will nominate another Republican to complete Powelson's term, but the White House has yet to name a nominee. McIntyre and Chatterjee are Republicans; Commissioners Glick and LaFleur are Democrats.
Among those rumored to be under consideration for the position are Bernard McNamee, executive director of the Department of Energy's Office of Policy and formerly of the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, and Art Graham, chairman of the Florida Public Service Commission.