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 TrumpAlaska Republican Party cancels 2020 primary Ukrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' MORE to appoint Neil ChatterjeeIndranil (Neil) ChatterjeeTo cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies Overnight 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 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 Partnership for America's Health Care Future — Walmart to stop selling e-cigarettes | Senators press FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately | House panel tees up e-cig hearing for next week Bipartisan group of senators urges FDA to pull most e-cigarettes immediately Sinema touts bipartisan record as Arizona Democrats plan censure vote 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 WaldenHillicon Valley: Lawmakers say Zuckerberg to 'cooperate' on antitrust probes | Dems see victory after McConnell backs election security funds | Twitter takes down fake pro-Saudi accounts Lawmakers say Zuckerberg has agreed to 'cooperate' with antitrust probe Democrats hold first hearing in push for clean energy by 2050 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 PerryGas prices could rise 15 to 30 cents following Saudi attack Trump envoy presses Saudi Arabia to allow nuclear inspections Perry confident energy market 'will rebound positively' after Saudi oil attack 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.