Trump makes two FERC nominations, potentially rebalancing commission

Source: BY REBECCA BEITSCH, The Hill • Posted: Tuesday, July 28, 2020

President Trump made two nominations to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Monday, bowing to pressure from Democratic lawmakers who have pushed to maintain the bipartisan split in the commission.

Trump nominated Allison Clements, Democrats’ preferred nominee, alongside Mark C. Christie, who currently serves as chairman of Virginia State Corporation Commission. If confirmed, the two would regulate electricity and natural gas markets alongside other major energy projects.

FERC’s five-member board is supposed to have no more than three members of any one party, but for much of the year it’s been operating with just four members – three Republicans and one Democrat.

FERC’s newest commissioner, James Danly, was confirmed in March despite requests from Democrats that he be paired with Clements.

“In a political climate that is often paralyzed by partisanship, a bipartisan FERC is more essential than ever. I thank the President and the White House for nominating both a Democrat and Republican today because it is an important step towards restoring a fully seated Commission,” said Senate Energy and Natural Resources ranking member Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who had pushed for Clements’ nomination.

Clements currently serves as the founder and president of Goodgrid, LLC, an energy policy and strategy consulting firm. She previously worked for a decade at the Natural Resources Defense Council. She also spent two years as director of the energy markets program at Energy Foundation, which advocates for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Christie is one of the nation’s longest-serving state utility regulators, having served for 16 years on Virginia’s board overseeing utilities and other industries.

The nominations come as Commissioner Bernard McNamee’s term expired at the end of June.