In a surprise move, the White House has sent the Senate the nominations of a Colorado attorney and a Washington, DC energy executive to fill the two vacant seats at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. If confirmed by the Senate, this would be the first time since December 2003 that the five-member Commission will be operating at full capacity.

President Bush nominated Philip D. Moeller, executive director of the Washington office for Alliant Energy Corp., to finish out the remainder of 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. Also nominated to FERC is John Wellinghoff, a partner with the law firm of Beckley Singleton in Colorado, for the remainder of a term expiring on June 30, 2008. He will fill the seat that was vacated when former Commissioner William Massey, a Democrat, departed the agency in December 2003.

Moeller and Wellinghoff must win clearance from the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, as well as confirmation by the full Senate. If confirmed, the two men would join Chairman Joseph Kelliher, Commissioner Nora Brownell and Commissioner Suedeen Kelly at the agency. The political makeup of the Commission would be three Republicans, one Democrat (Kelly) and one Independent (Wellinghoff).

The addition of Wellinghoff would provide greater representation of western interests on the Commission, which is likely to appeal to a number of senators on Capitol Hill. Kelly is from New Mexico.

Prior to Alliant Energy, Moeller served as director of federal relations at Calpine Corp., and also was senior legislative assistant for electricity policy for former Sen. Slade Gorton of Washington State. Moeller received his bachelor’s degree from Stanford University.

Before becoming a partner at Beckley Singleton, Wellinghoff served as managing principal and regulatory attorney for Efficient Energy Systems Inc., and was staff counsel for the Nevada Public Utilities Commission. Wellinghoff earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nevada and master’s degree from Howard University. He received his law degree from Antioch School of Law.

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