President Bush Tuesday announced his intent to renominate Joseph T. Kelliher to a seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and to redesignate him as chairman of the agency.

Kelliher's current term on the Commission, which began in November 2003, expires on June 30 (see Daily GPI, Nov. 10, 2003). The president plans to renominate him for a five-year term at the agency that would expire on June 30, 2012.

A former Capitol Hill staffer and senior policy advisor at the Department of Energy, Kelliher assumed the reins at FERC in July 2005, taking over from former Chairman Pat Wood.

Kelliher, a Republican who appears to have a good relationship with Capitol Hill lawmakers, is expected to be easily approved when his nomination comes before the Senate for a vote.

The fact that Congress is now controlled by Democrats is not expected to hamper his renomination, said Martin Edwards, vice president of legislative affairs for the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America.

"I don't think it's going to have any material affect" on Kelliher, he said. Edwards noted that Kelliher had bipartisan support from lawmakers in 2003. And since then, he has been "sensitive and respectful" of the views of Democrats.

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