FERC Commissioner Kevin McIntyre dies

Source: By Rod Kuckro, E&E News reporter • Posted: Friday, January 4, 2019

Kevin McIntyre, who served the briefest tenure ever as the nation’s top energy regulator at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, died yesterday.

McIntyre had been diagnosed with brain cancer in 2017 and previously had surgery to remove the tumor.

A setback in his condition led him to step away from the chairman’s role on Oct. 24. He remained on the commission and was succeeded as chairman by Commissioner Neil Chatterjee.

President Trump nominated McIntyre, 57, to serve at FERC as chairman in August 2017. It is unclear whether the administration knew at the time that he had cancer.

A Republican, he was confirmed by the Senate in November and was sworn in Dec. 7 as chairman. The several months of delay were attributed to his medical treatment, according to several sources.

In March, as news of his ailment was made public, McIntyre issued a statement acknowledging “a health issue that arose unexpectedly last summer” and the subsequent brain surgery (Energywire, March 12, 2018).

The prognosis was good, he said, given his “excellent health” and post-operative treatment. “For reasons of personal and family privacy, I do not intend to provide further details or updates on this subject,” he said at the time.

Within days of taking the reins at FERC, McIntyre had to lead the agency’s response to a request by Energy Secretary Rick Perry that the agency consider changing electricity market rules to enable financial subsidies for nuclear and coal power plants unable to compete in the market.

He led a 5-0 rejection by the commission of Perry’s proposal.

He chaired just eight of FERC’s monthly meetings, missing the September and October sessions for health reasons.

McIntyre led a number of important initiatives such as launching a resilience proceeding in response to Perry’s request as well as a review of FERC’s 1999 policy statement on certification of natural gas pipelines.

In April, he committed FERC to an interagency administration process that aims to cut the environmental permitting time for big infrastructure projects to two years.

As chairman, he also presided over a raft of 3-2 decisions in favor of natural gas pipelines that featured a party-line split among the commissioners.

Leading the commission, he was known for his deliberate approach to issues and his dry sense of humor.

Prior to his nomination to FERC, McIntyre was the co-leader of the global energy practice at the law firm Jones Day, where he practiced law for most of his nearly 30-year legal career.

At Jones Day, he led an expansive FERC practice, counseling and representing clients in nearly all industry sectors, including natural gas, electricity, oil, hydropower, wind power and other renewable resources, and energy marketing and trading. His work for energy clients spanned administrative and appellate litigation, compliance and enforcement matters, and corporate transactions.

McIntyre graduated from San Diego State University and Georgetown University Law School.

His wife, Jennifer, and three children survive him.

FERC declined to comment on McIntyre’s death.