Regulators, mount up: President Donald Trump finally announced late Monday that he's nominating two people for vacant slots on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
- As expected, he's tapping Neil Chatterjee, who's an aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and, Robert Powelson, a member of Pennsylvania's utility commission.
Why it matters: FERC, which plays a key role regulating electricity, natural gas and oil, has been without a quorum since early February. Bloomberg estimates that around $50 billion worth of gas pipeline and LNG project applications have been slowed or stalled.
What they're saying: "[T]he prospect of FERC remaining without a quorum until after Labor Day now looks considerably less likely than some industry participants have feared," ClearView Energy Partners said in a note last night.
- Christopher Guith, a senior official with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's energy program, applauded the picks as "phenomenal" in light of the complexity and importance of what's on FERC's plate.
What's next: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearings on the nominees. Also, Trump is eventually expected to nominate Kevin McIntyre, a top energy attorney with Jones Day, for a commission slot and possibly the chairmanship.
Look for the Senate hearings to include questions from Democrats about concerns among renewables advocates that a Trump-influenced FERC could undermine state green power standards.