Senators seek no ‘fight’ after McIntyre’s death

Source: Hannah Northey and Jeremy Dillon, E&E News reporters • Posted: Friday, January 4, 2019

The death of Kevin McIntyre, a Republican member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, was met yesterady on Capitol Hill with somber acknowledgement and calls to avoid a messy search for his successor.

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the incoming ranking Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told E&E News he wants to see a smooth confirmation process for McIntyre’s successor.

The FERC commissioner died yesterday after being diagnosed with brain cancer in 2017 (Energywire, Jan. 3).

“My first reaction is my heart goes out to his family,” said Manchin. “I want to contact his wife and let her know our condolences and our prayers are with her and the family. And now we just have to move forward.”

When asked about a confirmation fight in the wake of McIntyre’s passing, the senator replied, “I never want to fight. I want to compromise and work through it.”

ClearView Energy Partners in a note to clients noted that McIntyre’s seat will remain vacant until the White House and Senate confirm a replacement and said Republican leaders could move to name a successor within weeks.

Cabinet officials and lawmakers from both sides of the aisle sounded similar praise for McIntyre, 58, who served the shortest-ever tenure as FERC chairman.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry in a statement applauded McIntyre’s “thoughtful and steady” leadership during a pivotal time for the agency.

And Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) likewise praised his work as a lawyer, commissioner and FERC chairman. “He was as warm and engaging as he was knowledgeable about the issues that came before him,” Murkowski said. “My thoughts and prayers are with Kevin’s family and all who knew and loved him.”

McIntyre previously had surgery to remove the tumor, but 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.

FERC confirmed McIntyre’s death in a press release today, praised his leadership and unmatched knowledge of energy policy and law, and offered prayers and condolences to McIntyre’s wife, Jenny, and their three children.

“He exemplified what it means to be a true public servant each and every day, no matter the challenges that lie ahead of him,” the commission wrote. “In the face of adversity, Kevin’s dedicated faith, devotion to family and sharp wit never faltered.”

William Scherman, former FERC general counsel, said McIntyre was proud to be called a “FERC lawyer” and his “brilliance was only surpassed by his integrity, honor, humor and love for his family.”

Reporter Rod Kuckro contributed.