GOP commissioner on federal energy panel dies

Kevin McIntyreKevin J. McIntyreGOP commissioner on federal energy panel dies Senate should reject Trump’s radical nominee to key energy panel Overnight Energy: Chief energy regulator vows to steer clear of political fights | Zinke was referred to DOJ shortly before watchdog controversy | Groups threaten to sue EPA over paint stripper 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 calls for Republicans to be 'united' on abortion Tlaib calls on Amash to join impeachment resolution Facebook temporarily suspended conservative commentator Candace Owens MORE to appoint Neil ChatterjeeIndranil (Neil) ChatterjeeOvernight Energy: Natural gas export project gets green light | Ocasio-Cortez says climate fight needs to address farming | Top EPA enforcement official to testify Regulators approve Louisiana natural gas export terminal GOP commissioner on federal energy panel dies 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 MurkowskiOvernight Health Care — Presented by Campaign for Accountability — House passes drug pricing bills amid ObamaCare row | Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law | Ocasio-Cortez confronts CEO over K drug price tag Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law Bipartisan senators unveil measure to end surprise medical bills 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 WaldenHere are the eight Republicans who voted with Democrats on the Equality Act House approves anti-LGBT discrimination Equality Act Overnight Health Care — Presented by Campaign for Accountability — House passes drug pricing bills amid ObamaCare row | Senate Republicans running away from Alabama abortion law | Ocasio-Cortez confronts CEO over K drug price tag 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 PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryHouse Dems propose billions in extra funding for environmental programs that Trump sought to cut Overnight Energy: States fight Trump rollback of Obama lightbulb rules | Greens seek hearing over proposed rule on energy efficiency tests | Top Dem asks GAO to investigate climate threat States fight Trump rollback of Obama lightbulb rules 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.