The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Wednesday voted out the nomination of Joseph T. Kelliher for a second term on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Kelliher's current term as commissioner, which began in November 2003, expires on June 30 (see Daily GPI, Nov. 25, 2003). The White House in March nominated Kelliher, a Republican, for the second term and to continue as chairman of the agency (see Daily GPI, March 7). The nomination is for a five-year term at the agency that would expire on June 30, 2012.

The favorable committee vote comes nearly two weeks after Kelliher's confirmation hearing, during which some committee members expressed concern over FERC's ability to monitor the natural gas market for abuses (see Daily GPI, May 11).

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 then-Chairman Pat Wood.

Kelliher appears to have a good relationship with Capitol Hill lawmakers, and 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 pose a problem, observers say.

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