Oct 4, 2018

Meet Trump's new FERC nominee

President Trump will nominate Bernard McNamee, who is currently a top Energy Department policy official, to fill the vacant GOP seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Buzz: "If confirmed, McNamee would be the most overtly political person to serve on FERC in decades," E&E News reports. He has previously been with the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation and worked as aide to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, among other gigs.

Why it matters: The conventional wisdom around McNamee is that he'll be an ally of White House efforts to prop up economically struggling coal plants. Via Utility Dive's Gavin Bade:

  • "Last year, he helped pitch the DOE’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which would have provided cost recovery to plants with 90 days of fuel onsite, pumping the plan at regulatory conferences and defending it in front of Senate lawmakers this July."
  • FERC rejected that plan early this year, but Utility Dive notes that McNamee has defended the idea of using DOE's emergency authorities to keep uneconomic coal plants operating.

What's next: The timing for Senate consideration is unclear, but in a note yesterday, ClearView Energy Partners said it could move quickly, especially in the unlikely event that Democrats win back the Senate in November.

  • That would boost the odds of a lame-duck confirmation, they note.
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