GOP commissioner on federal energy panel dies

Kevin McIntyreKevin J. McIntyreWe cannot allow FERC to ignore our climate crisis GOP commissioner on federal energy panel dies Senate should reject Trump’s radical nominee to key energy panel MORE, a member of the five-person Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), died Wednesday at the age of 57, the commission said Thursday.

McIntyre, a Republican who had chaired the commission between his Senate confirmation in December 2017 and October 2018, had suffered from brain cancer.

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He had surgery in the summer of 2017 to remove a tumor and later declared he was in “excellent health” after the procedure. But his health later forced him to step down from his chairmanship, leading President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE to appoint Neil ChatterjeeIndranil (Neil) ChatterjeeHillicon Valley: FTC rules Cambridge Analytica engaged in 'deceptive practices' | NATO researchers warn social media failing to remove fake accounts | Sanders calls for breaking up Comcast, Verizon Bipartisan senators call on FERC to protect against Huawei threats Hillicon Valley: House passes anti-robocall bill | Senators inch forward on privacy legislation | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Illinois families sue TikTok | Senators get classified briefing on ransomware MORE to lead the body, though McIntyre stayed on as a commissioner.

“Today is a deeply sad day for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and for all those who had the pleasure of knowing Kevin McIntyre both personally and professionally,” Chatterjee said in a statement. “During his tenure at the commission, Kevin exhibited strong leadership and an unmatched knowledge of energy policy and the rule of law. He exemplified what it means to be a true public servant each and every day, no matter the challenges that lie ahead of him.”

McIntyre was a Republican and previously an attorney at Jones Day, representing energy companies and other clients with matters before the FERC.

Leading lawmakers mourned McIntyre after the news of his death, which was first reported by E&E News.

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of Commissioner McIntyre,” Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiThe Hill's Morning Report - Sanders takes incoming during intense SC debate Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Lawmakers raise alarms over Trump coronavirus response | Top official warns virus appears inevitable in US | Democrats block two Senate abortion bills Overnight Energy: Critics pile on Trump plan to roll back major environmental law | Pick for Interior No. 2 official confirmed | JPMorgan Chase to stop loans for fossil fuel drilling in the Arctic MORE (R-Alaska), chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement.

“As a lawyer, a commissioner, and as FERC’s chairman, he always had the utmost respect for the agency and its mission," she said. "He was as warm and engaging as he was knowledgeable about the issues that came before him. My thoughts and prayers are with Kevin’s family and all who knew and loved him.”

Rep. Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenLawmakers grill Ticketmaster, StubHub execs over online ticketing Overnight Energy: Green groups to sue over Trump rollback of Obama water rules | GOP climate plan faces pushback from right | Bezos launches B climate initiative GOP climate plan faces pushback — from Republicans MORE (R-Ore.), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, also said he was “deeply saddened” at McIntyre’s passing.

“Kevin’s legacy as chairman will be remembered for his steadfast leadership at such a critical time in the agency’s history," he said. "His expansive knowledge and expertise of energy law was a tremendous asset to the commission’s important responsibilities and helped shape U.S. energy policy for years to come.”

McIntyre oversaw an active time at FERC.

He participated in a unanimous vote last January to reject Energy Secretary Rick PerryRick PerryTop National Security Council aide moved to Energy Department role Overnight Energy: Green groups to sue over Trump rollback of Obama water rules | GOP climate plan faces pushback from right | Bezos launches B climate initiative Rick Perry to rejoin dental insurance company as chief strategy officer MORE’s proposal to require higher electricity payments to coal and nuclear power plants, part of an ongoing Trump administration effort to bail out uneconomic plants.

FERC later opened a proceeding to examine whether to reward certain plants for “resilience,” but hasn’t taken further action.

McIntyre’s leadership also saw FERC start the process of overhauling how it approves natural gas pipelines, while approving numerous pipelines on partyline 3-2 votes.

Earlier this year, McIntyre oversaw an effort to allow grid-level energy storage technology to buy and sell electricity on open markets.

McIntyre’s death will leave a spot open on FERC. Trump is responsible for nominating someone to the post.

Updated at 2:14 p.m.