Members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hear Thursday from President Donald Trump’s picks to fill two of three vacancies at the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee (FERC), the federal agency tasked with overseeing the nation’s power grid and interstate natural gas pipeline network.
Earlier this month, President Trump nominated Neil Chatterjee, an energy aid to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Robert Powelson, a Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner and president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.
In addition, POLITICO reported that President Trump is expected to nominate Jones Day attorney Kevin McIntyre to fill the third vacancy and serve as chairman of the commission.
FERC has been without quorum since February leaving at least $50 billion worth of energy infrastructure projects stalled or slowed until the empty posts are filled, according to Bloomberg:
“For the first time in FERC’s 40-year-history, the agency doesn’t have enough commissioners for a quorum to vote on project applications. At least a half-dozen pipelines valued at $12 billion face imminent delays, while projects valued at $38 billion are slogging through an approval process that’s slow in the best of times. An additional $25 billion of proposed developments just beginning the application process also could be slowed if the situation persists late into the year.”
Thursday’s confirmation hearing comes as the White House lays out its vision for a highly anticipated $1 trillion infrastructure package, which will undoubtedly include projects dependent on FERC’s ability to return to quorum.
Schedule: The hearing will take place at 10:00 AM ET on Thursday, May 25 in room 366 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. A live webcast will also be available here.
Photo Credit: Ryan McKnight via Flickr