For the second time in less than five months, President Trump has nominated James Danly to be a member of FERC for the remainder of a term expiring June 30, 2023, the White House said Wednesday.
If confirmed by the Senate, Danly, who is general counsel at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, would take over one of the two current vacancies on the panel, effectively replacing former commissioner and Chairman Kevin J. McIntyre, who died in early 2019.
Prior to his appointment to serve as FERC general counsel in 2017, Danly was a member of the energy regulation and litigation group at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom LLP. He previously served as law clerk to Judge Danny Boggs on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Danly has also worked as managing director for the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, DC, and served an International Affairs Fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations. He holds a law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School and a bachelor’s degree from Yale University. Danly also is a former U.S. Army officer twice deployed to Iraq.
Danly was first nominated by Trump in October and that nomination was voted out by Senate committee in November. The full Senate, however, failed to vote on the confirmation during 2019 and the nomination was returned to the White House Jan. 3.
Last month Commissioner Bernard McNamee said he plans to leave FERC at the end of his current term, which is set to expire June 30.
If McNamee's exit were to come before McNamee's confirmation, it would leave the traditionally five-member FERC with only two commissioners – Republican Neil Chatterjee, who is chairman, and Democrat Richard Glick. Chatterjee's term is set to expire in 2021 and Glick's in 2022.
Danly's first nomination may have stalled in the home stretch because of a simmering conflict over FERC's long-standing reputation for independence and the number of Republican and Democratic party members on the panel. By law, no more than three seats at FERC may be held by one political party.
During the runup to Danly's first nomination there were complaints from Democrats, including Joe Manchin (D-WV), the ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee -- the first hurdle FERC nominees must clear -- that the White House had not also sent them the name of a Democratic nominee.
Manchin and other Democrats have been lobbying for Allison Clements, a former senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, to be nominated to FERC. Trump administration officials reportedly met with Clements last month.