On August 3, 2017, the Senate voted to confirm Donald Trump’s nominees for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Neil Chatterjee and Rob Powelson. They join Cheryl LaFleur, who had been the sole member of the five member commission, so FERC now has a quorum. Chatterjee has been a long-time advocate on behalf of the fossil fuel industry, and, while Powelson has at times supported clean energy, he has shown deep allegiances to the gas industry throughout his tenure on the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission, and has recently compared anti-gas activists to terrorists. Lena Moffit of the Sierra Club stated, “It is disappointing to see the Senate confirm FERC Commissioners who have lengthy track records of prioritizing the interests of the fossil fuel industry over those of the American people.” FERC can now begin to act on the $50 billion of energy ventures under consideration by the agency.
Trump has formally nominated Kevin McIntyre, an energy lawyer at the firm Jones Day, and Richard Glick, a Democratic Senate aide. A Senate hearing on the two new nominees is scheduled for September 7, 2017.