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 TrumpDem senator says Zelensky was 'feeling the pressure' to probe Bidens 2020 Dems slam Trump decision on West Bank settlements Trump calls latest impeachment hearings 'a great day for Republicans' MORE to appoint Neil ChatterjeeIndranil (Neil) ChatterjeeExtend solar tax credits, but end costly Carter-era subsidies Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics Watchdog: Energy Department not doing enough to protect grid against cyber attacks 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 MurkowskiKey Republicans say Biden can break Washington gridlock Impeachment hearings don't move needle with Senate GOP Hillicon Valley: Federal inquiry opened into Google health data deal | Facebook reports millions of post takedowns | Microsoft shakes up privacy debate | Disney plus tops 10M sign-ups in first day 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: Twitter shares more details on political ad rules | Supreme Court takes up Google-Oracle fight | Pentagon chief defends Microsoft cloud contract House, Senate announce agreement on anti-robocall bill House panel advances flavored e-cigarette ban 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 PerryOvernight Energy: Mark Ruffalo pushes Congress on 'forever chemicals' | Lawmakers spar over actor's testimony | House Dems unveil renewable energy tax plan | Funding for conservation program passes Senate hurdle Volker: I 'cringe' when I hear 'three amigos' Live coverage: House holds third day of public impeachment hearings 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.