Nov 21, 2018 - Energy & Environment

Video intensifies scrutiny of Trump's FERC pick on renewables

The path for Trump's choice to fill an open Federal Energy Regulatory Commission seat may be getting more complicated thanks to newly unveiled comments on renewable energy and fossil fuels.

Why it matters: It opens up the nominee to charges that he'll bring an ideological approach to the commission. "FERC is an independent agency whose regulators typically pride themselves on a 'fuel neutral' approach to energy regulation," writes Utility Dive's Gavin Bade.

Driving the news: Utility Dive obtained a video of remarks Bernard McNamee made in February while working for the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation. They report that McNamee, a former DOE official, "sharply criticized renewable energy and environmental groups while calling for a 'unified campaign' to support fossil fuels. ... McNamee ... said fossil fuels are 'key to our way of life,' but renewable energy 'screws up the whole physics of the grid."

  • E&E News reports that the comments are already "roiling opposition" to the nomination.
  • The video is also surfacing at a time when the Trump administration is batting around ideas for aiding economically struggling coal-fired and nuclear power plants.

But, but, but: McNamee, in a statement released to both publications, said: "I recognize the significant role that renewables play in our energy mix, and I stand by my statement that if confirmed as a Commissioner, I would be an independent arbiter basing my decisions on the law and the facts, not politics."

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