The nomination of former Iowa utility regulator John Norris to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been hung up in the Senate for more than a month by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), a Capitol Hill source confirmed. "She wants FERC to work on a hydro issue in Maine" before she will vote to confirm Norris, whose nomination was approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in October and sent to the full Senate (see NGI, Oct. 12 ). Norris was a board member and chairman of the Iowa Utilities Board from March 2005 until earlier this year. He currently is chief of staff for Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. If confirmed by the Senate, Norris would 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). Prior to coming to Washington, DC, Norris was Sen. John Kerry's (D-MA) Iowa director during Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign and had been chief of staff for Vilsack when he was governor of Iowa. Norris also ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2002.

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