Obama taps Bay for FERC chief

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission enforcement chief Norman Bay has been nominated to take over the agency tasked with monitoring the nation's electric grid, the White House announced Thursday.

Bay, a former U.S. attorney for New Mexico, has worked for the agency's enforcement arm since June 2009. 

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He's the second nominee pitched by the White House to replaced former FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, who stepped down last year. 

Ron Binz, a utility regular from Colorado, withdrew his nomination after lawmakers express concern that he had hidden his involvement in a coordinated effort by a green energy group to lobby for his nomination.

Wellinghoff was widely credited for spearheading an expansion of the agency's oversight of the electric grid and various investigations into questionable trading tactics by Wall Street banks.

If Bay is confirmed, he'll take over for acting chairman Cheryl LaFleur, who has held the job since Wellinghoff resigned in November. LaFleur told reporters she wanted to remain at the commission during a roundtable with reporters earlier this week, according to SNL.

In a statement, President Obama called Bay "talented" and said he looked forward to working together "in the months and years to come."

Laura Barron-Lopez contributed.