The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by unanimous voice vote Wednesday approved the nomination of Marc Spitzer for a seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The favorable vote places him in queue with two other FERC nominees who are awaiting confirmation by the full Senate.

Spitzer, a member of the Arizona Corporation Commission and former state senator, was nominated for a five-year term on the Commission expiring June 30, 2011 (see NGI, June 19). If confirmed by the Senate, he would replace outgoing Commissioner Nora Mead Brownell, who is due to leave FERC in a few weeks.

Spitzer, a Republican, would join Jon Wellinghoff, a Democrat, and Philip D. Moeller, a Republican, as new members of FERC. “The expectation is that a [Senate] vote on the three nominees will be pretty soon,” said Bill Wicker, a spokesman for Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, the ranking Democrat on the Senate energy panel.

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., were nominated by the White House in March. The Senate energy panel forwarded their nominations to the full Senate last month (see NGI, June 26).

The three nominees would give FERC a western flavor, 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.

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