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."

Go deeper: Meet Trump's new FERC nominee

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 32,471,119 — Total deaths: 987,593 — Total recoveries: 22,374,557Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 7,032,524 — Total deaths: 203,657 — Total recoveries: 2,727,335 — Total tests: 99,483,712Map.
  3. States: "We’re not closing anything going forward": Florida fully lifts COVID restaurant restrictions — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus.
  4. Health: Young people accounted for 20% of cases this summer.
  5. Business: Coronavirus has made airports happier places The expiration of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance looms.
  6. Education: Where bringing students back to school is most risky.
Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden pushes unity message in new TV wave

A fresh Joe Biden ad, "New Start," signals an effort by his campaign to make unity a central theme, underscoring a new passage in his stump speech that says he won't be a president just for Democrats but for all Americans.

What he's saying: The ad — which began Friday night, and is a follow-up to "Fresh Start" — draws from a Biden speech earlier in the week in Manitowoc, Wisconsin:

Trump prepares to announce Amy Coney Barrett as Supreme Court replacement

Judge Amy Coney Barrett. Photo: Matt Cashore/Notre Dame University via Reuters

President Trump is preparing to nominate federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett of Indiana, a favorite of both the social conservative base and Republican elected officials, to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Republican sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Barrett would push the already conservative court further and harder to the right, for decades to come, on the most important issues in American politics — from abortion to the limits of presidential power. If confirmed, she would give conservatives a 6-3 majority on the high court.

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