The U.S. Senate took action Aug. 3 to restore a quorum to the federal agency that approves interstate natural gas pipelines. Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson were approved to serve as members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee (FERC).
Chatterjee and Powelson have been awaiting final approval ever since the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee advanced their nominations to the full Senate on June 6.
Until the Senate approved Chatterjee and Powelson, Acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur remained as the lone FERC member. The commission has lacked a quorum to approve pipeline projects since Bay resigned in February.
Pipeline industry advocate groups the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) and American Petroleum Institute (API) applauded the Senate’s action.
“We applaud the Senate for confirming Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson to serve as members of FERC, thereby restoring the commission’s quorum, which has been absent for six months,” INGAA president Don Santa said. “The commission now can get back to work thoroughly reviewing the many energy infrastructure projects of national importance that have been sidelined in recent months.”
API Midstream Group Director Robin Rorick shared similar views.
“There are billions of dollars of privately funded infrastructure projects currently tied up at FERC because the agency has lacked a quorum,” Rorick said. “With the confirmation of both Powelson and Chatterjee, the agency can now move forward in approving the critical natural gas infrastructure that will create jobs across the country, and help ensure that consumers can have access to clean-burning, affordable, reliable natural gas.”
President Donald Trump nominated two more members to FERC on Aug. 2.
Richard Glick, of Virginia, was nominated for a term expiring June 30, 2022, replacing the seat that former commissioner Colette Honorable held, until her term expired June 30. Kevin McIntyre, also of Virginia, was nominated for the remainder of the term expiring June 30, 2018, which former commissioner Norman Bay held until he resigned Feb. 3. McIntyre was also nominated for reappointment for a term that will expire June 30, 2023.
Trump announced his intention to nominate Glick on June 28, and McIntyre has long been rumored as a possible nomination.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has scheduled a hearing on Sept. 7 to review the nominations of Glick and McIntyre.