The Senate on Friday approved by unanimous consent three new members to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission — Philip D. Moeller, Jon Wellinghoff and Marc Spitzer.
It’s was not immediately known when the three new commissioners will be sworn in at the agency. It will be “at their discretion,” said FERC spokeswoman Tamara Young-Allen. With the addition of the new commissioners, it will be the first time in nearly six years — except for a brief three-month period — that all five FERC seats are filled.
The favorable Senate vote comes less than two days after the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved the nomination of Arizona regulator Spitzer for a seat on the Commission. The committee approved the nominations of Wellinghoff, a partner with the law firm of Beckley Singleton in Nevada, and Moeller, executive director of the Washington office for Wisconsin-based Alliant Energy Corp., last month (see Daily GPI, June 22).
Spitzer, a member of the Arizona Corporation Commission since 2000 and a state senator prior to that, will serve a five-year term expiring June 30, 2011 (see Daily GPI, June 13). A Republican, Spitzer will replace outgoing Commissioner Nora Mead Brownell, who is due to leave FERC in a few weeks.
Moeller, a Republican, would take former FERC Chairman Pat Wood’s seat on the Commission. His term would expire June 30, 2010. Wellinghoff, a Democrat, would take former commissioner William Massey’s seat with a term expiring June 30, 2008.
The three nominees would give FERC a western bent, given that each candidate has ties to the West and existing Commissioner Suedeen Kelly is from New Mexico. And the Republicans on the Commission (three in all) would have an edge over the two Democratic members. FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher is a Republican, while Commissioner Kelly is a Democrat.
Spitzer was born in Pittsburgh, PA, and grew up in Philadelphia. After graduating from Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA, he attended the University of Michigan School of Law.
Prior to Alliant, Moeller was an energy policy advisor to former Sen. Slade Gorton (R-WA), and had been a staff coordinator for the Washington State Senate Committee on Energy, Utilities and Telecommunications. He was born in Chicago and raised on a ranch near Spokane, WA. He received a B.A. in political science from Stanford University.
Wellinghoff was Nevada’s first consumer advocate and served as staff counsel to the Nevada Public Utilities Commission and was a staff attorney for the Federal Trade Commission. He received a B.S. from the University of Nevada, an M.A.T. from Howard University and his law degree from Antioch School of Law.
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