Chatterjee rejects allegations he helped scuttle nomination

Source: Jeremy Dillon, E&E News reporter • Posted: Friday, April 19, 2019

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Neil Chatterjee pushed back today against reports that he participated in the scuttling of the potential nomination of David Hill to the commission.

“No reporter has been able to identify a single individual that I contacted or what I talked about,” Chatterjee said, referring to an E&E News story published Friday (Greenwire, April 12).

“That’s a denial,” he added.

The story noted that Chatterjee participated in torpedoing Hill’s nomination to serve on the commission as a Republican nominee and ultimately to serve as the chairman of the commission, according to numerous sources who wished to remain anonymous.

The White House walked back from its plans to announce Hill’s nomination in March after pushback from the coal industry. The lack of a nominee has kept FERC at a two Republican-two Democrat split, causing uncertainty for billions of dollars in infrastructure projects.

“This story you ran was really, really disappointing to me for a number of reasons,” Chatterjee said.

E&E News contacted Chatterjee and FERC before the story ran last week. They did not offer any comment at that point to say the story was false. They also have not sought a correction to the original article.

Chatterjee today told reporters he did not respond because “the story was so baseless that I didn’t think it merited a response.”

“You had no named sources, no corroboration, and what offended me the most about the story wasn’t the significant unsubstantiated — without any evidence — allegation you made against me, what bothered me the most is that I know David Hill, and David Hill is a good man,” Chatterjee said.

“I found it almost impossible to believe that David Hill would have been negotiating in September to be chairman of the commission while Kevin McIntyre was still alive and serving,” he added. “I was very, very disappointed with the story.”

McIntyre, who resigned after a short tenure as chairman, died in January.

Hill confirmed to E&E News that he was offered the position to be the new FERC chairman in December and the White House revoked its offer in March.