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New energy commission chairman takes reins

New energy commission chairman takes reins
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Kevin McIntyre was sworn in Thursday as the new chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency said.

McIntyre’s swearing-in as both a new commissioner and the chairman restores the agency to five commissioners for the first time since 2015.

He was previously an attorney at Jones Day, heading its energy practice and often representing industry clients before FERC.

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McIntyre, a Republican, replaces Neil Chatterjee, who had served as chairman on an interim basis since August while McIntyre went through the Senate confirmation process. Chatterjee, also a Republican, will stay on at FERC as a commissioner.

McIntyre’s chairmanship comes at an important time for the often obscure agency that oversees wholesale electricity markets, interstate pipelines and similar matters.

Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryTrump, Pence to address CPAC this week Overnight Energy: EPA penalties for polluters cut in half under Trump | Court orders regulators to implement Obama efficiency rules | Sully weighs in on Pruitt's first-class travel Energy Department to invest .5M in projects aiming to improve the performance of coal MORE has asked FERC to take action by Monday on a proposal to mandate that electric grid operators pay more to coal and nuclear plants for their power in an effort to stop them from closing, which Perry argues would threaten electric grid resilience.

Chatterjee has supported taking at least some action to try to stop those plants from closing. McIntyre hasn’t addressed the issue directly, but he told senators earlier this year that he would ensure that FERC remains “fuel neutral” in its electricity policies, as it is required to do.

Any major new policy from FERC would require a vote of the five commissioners. But as chairman, McIntyre could take action to delay the Monday deadline.