Lawmakers urge Trump to act to fill FERC vacancy

Published on February 28, 2017 by Daily Energy Insider Reports

A group of lawmakers from the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to President Donald Trump recently, urging him to appoint at least one commissioner to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to fill a long-standing vacancy and re-establish a quorum.

In order to take formal action, FERC must have at least three commissioners. Since the departure of Norman Bay in February, the commission has only had two, Cheryl LaFleur and Colette Honorable.

The lack of a quorum threatens a state of inaction at the commission that “could have profound negative impacts for the nation’s electric, natural gas, and oil customers,” said the American Public Power Association and a coalition of more than a dozen energy trade groups.

The lawmakers, in the letter, said, “A fully functioning and staffed commission is critical to our economy, national security, infrastructure, and energy needs as a country.”

The lawmakers said this is the first time in FERC’s nearly forty-year history that it has not been able to vote on decisions or orders due to a lack of a quorum.

Prior to Bay’s departure, the commission issued an order transferring additional power to FERC staff in the absence of a quorum in order to keep the commission functioning. In their letter, the representatives expressed concerns about the legality of this order and said they have encouraged groups to wait to file new items with FERC.

The House recently advanced legislation that would ensure concerned parties could raise concerns at the administrative and judicial levels in the absence of a FERC order.

U.S. Reps. Joe Kennedy (D-MA), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Richard Neal (D-MA), William Keating (D-MA), Katherine Clark (D-MA), John Sarbanes (D-MD), Diana DeGette (D-CO), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Michael Capuano (D-MA), Peter Welch (D-VT), Stephen Lynch (D-MA) and Niki Tsongas (D-MA) signed the letter.