FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher on Thursday applauded President Bush’s selection of Philip D. Moeller and Jon Wellinghoff to fill the vacancies at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Moeller, executive director of the Washington office for Alliant Energy Corp., is an “excellent choice,” Kelliher said, adding that he has personally known Moeller for 20 years “when I was a House staffer and he was a Senate staffer.” He said he had just met Wellinghoff, a partner with the law firm of Beckley Singleton in Colorado, but he has the “right background and experience for the Commission.”

All five Commission seats have been filled for only three months over the past six years. “It [will be] nice to get back to a full complement and actually stay there for some period of time,” Kelliher said at the first agency meeting since the nominations were announced.

While he holds the record for having the longest FERC confirmation process, Kelliher said he hoped that the Senate would quickly confirm both Moeller and Wellinghoff.

Both FERC nominees are westerners — with Wellinghoff from Colorado and Moeller having ties originally to Washington State, said Commissioner Suedeen Kelly. “It does help to have that kind of perspective [and] geographic diversity” at the agency. Having come from New Mexico, Kelly is the only westerner on the Commission now.

The White House has sent the nominations to Capitol Hill, but the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has not yet scheduled a confirmation hearing for the nominees. Moeller has been nominated for a five-year term expiring June 30, 2010. He would fill the Republican seat vacated by former Chairman Pat Wood, who left FERC in July 2005.

Wellinghoff has been named to fill the seat of former Commissioner William Massey, a Democrat, who departed the agency in December 2003. He will serve out the remainder of a term expiring on June 30, 2008 (see Daily GPI, March 9).

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