Rep. Cassidy presses Landrieu to reject FERC nominee

Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) is adding pressure on Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) to reject the administration's nominee to head the nation's top energy regulatory commission.

Cassidy, who is challenging Landrieu of for her Senate seat this year, sent a letter to Landrieu along with the rest of Louisiana's congressional delegation Thursday, pressing her on the matter.

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The delegation slammed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for meddling in who the administration nominated to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is tasked with overseeing the nation's electric grid among other issues.

"FERC is responsible for making sure Louisiana families have access to affordable, reliable energy. We must have a chair that puts Louisiana interests above Harry Reid's," the letter states.

"Reid wants Norman Bay to be chair of FERC so the Obama Administration can keep pushing their harmful energy regulations on Louisiana families and businesses," the letter adds.

A Monday Wall Street Journal report quoted Reid as saying current acting chairwoman of FERC, Cheryl LaFleur wasn't President Obama's pick because he didn't want her to be.

"I don't want her as chair," Reid told The Wall Street Journal.

Landrieu told The Hill Tuesday that she is exploring options with her ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), to possibly swap Bay for LaFleur, who is favored among Republicans on the committee and a number of pro-energy Democrats.

Both are Democratic nominees, but Republicans are skeptical of Bay, who they say has little if any energy policy experience. Bay has also never sat as a commissioner for FERC.

"I hope as Chair of the Senate Energy Committee, Senator Landrieu will stand up to President Obama and Harry Reid’s anti-energy agenda by opposing Norman Bay’s nomination.”

Landrieu said she is keeping her eye on the ball to ensure commissioners that can get the job done well are confirmed, but said nothing has been decided on a possible deal to nominate LaFleur as chairwoman and Bay as a commissioner.