The U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee advanced the nominations of Neil Chatterjee and Rob Powelson to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on June 7, clearing the way for a final vote by the full Senate on June 15.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) applauded the committee’s action and called on the Senate to take immediate action to approve the nominees.
“Today’s action brings us one step closer to a functional Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,” said API Midstream and Industry Operations Group director Robin Rorick. “With a quorum, the commission will be able to fully evaluate and advance critical infrastructure projects around the nation and to set vital market rules.
“Private investment in our nation’s energy infrastructure is a more than $1 trillion proposition that could support an estimated 1 million jobs per year through 2035. Today’s action brings U.S. consumers, workers and the environment closer to fully realizing the benefits of the U.S. energy renaissance. We applaud today’s action and urge the full Senate to quickly approve these well-qualified nominees.”
President Donald Trump announced the nominations of Chatterjee and Powelson on May 8. Their approval would help alleviate the logjam in federal approvals for pipeline projects.
FERC, which has authority over interstate natural pipelines in the United States, has lacked the number of commissioners needed to approve new projects since January. If confirmed, Chatterjee and Powelson will join acting chairman Cheryl LaFleur and commissioner Colette Honorable. (Honorable’s term expires June 30.)
Chatterjee is energy policy advisor to United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. His term would expire June 30, 2021.
Powelson has served as a commissioner on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) since 2008, and was appointed chairman in 2011. His term would expire June 30, 2020.