President Obama on Friday announced his intent to renominate John Norris to remain as a commissioner at FERC and serve a full five-year term to mid-2017.

In January 2010 Norris, a former Iowa regulator, joined the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to finish out the term vacated by former FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher, which expires on June 30 of this year (see Daily GPI, Jan. 11, 2010). Before coming to FERC, Norris was a board member and chairman of the Iowa Utilities Board.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a combined confirmation hearing for Norris and North Dakota regulator Tony Clark, who recently was nominated to succeed former Commissioner Marc Spitzer (see Daily GPI, Jan. 25). Spitzer, a Republican, stepped down in December after completing a five-year term at FERC.

“It would make sense to do the two FERC nominations together” in one confirmation hearing, said Bill Wicker, a spokesman for Senate Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). “It would be like one-stop shopping.”

He further noted that there was no rush for the Senate energy panel to vote out the nominations. “The Commission has got a good working quorum…We’re not foot-dragging, but we’re not in a rush either.”

Norris, Chairman Jon Wellinghoff and Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur make up the Democratic majority on the five-member Commission. Clark, who is currently chairman of the North Dakota Service Commission, will join Commissioner Philip D. Moeller as the Republican minority.

Wicker could not say whether a joint confirmation hearing would be held on the nominations of Deutsche Bank chief energy economist Adam Sieminski to head the Energy Information Administration, and Marcilynn A. Burke as assistant secretary for the Interior Department’s Land and Minerals Management office.

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