Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) called on President Bush last Thursday to re-nominate Commissioner William Massey to a third five-year term on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Daschle said his recommendation to reappoint Massey, the sole Democrat on the Commission, was shared by key Democrats on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, including Sens. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Dianne Feinstein of California, and Maria Cantwell of Washington. Both Feinstein and Cantwell had urged Daschle in February to back Massey for reappointment.

“Massey has served conscientiously as a FERC Commissioner since 1993. He has consistently advocated a market-based approach to energy regulation, insisting that markets produce tangible benefits for consumers, and promoted a strong market oversight and monitoring role for the Commission,” Daschle wrote in his July 24 letter to the president.

Moreover, “Massey’s rural background and appreciation for the energy needs of America’s rural families has brought an important perspective to the deliberations of the Commission.” His “proven leadership and experience in the complexities of national energy policy make him a logical choice for reappointment,” the Senate’s top Democrat said.

The White House has been silent on whether it intends to re-nominate Massey.

Massey signaled earlier this year that he welcomed a third term on the Commission, and had been meeting with certain senators on Capitol Hills to “seek their advice and counsel” about continuing at FERC (see NGI, March 3).

Known for his thoughtful and deliberative regulatory decisions, Massey was appointed by President Clinton in 1993, and re-nominated in 1998 for a five-year term that expired on June 30. He currently is serving out a grace period that will likely expire when the Congress adjourns for the year.

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