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The confirmation of former Iowa utility regulator John Norris to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) hit a snag in the Senate when a senator threatened to block a vote if the nomination was brought to the floor for a vote. Bill Wicker, a spokesman for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, declined to identify the senator who threatened to place a hold on the Norris nomination. "It has nothing to do with Norris personally," but rather is directed at FERC policies, Wicker said. Officials from FERC and members of the senator's staff "are trying to work things out...There are conversations going on," Wicker said. The Senate energy panel voted out the nomination of Norris, currently chief of staff for Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, earlier this month (see NGI, Oct. 12). If confirmed by the Senate, Norris will be one of three Democrats -- the others being Chairman Jon Wellinghoff and Commissioner Suedeen Kelly -- on the five-member FERC. Kelly has said she plans to leave FERC when her replacement is confirmed by the Senate, but the White House has not tapped anyone to fill her spot (see NGI, Sept. 28).

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