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Former FERC Chair Chatterjee on demotion by Trump: 'I don't give a f@&!'

Former FERC Chair Chatterjee on demotion by Trump: 'I don't give a f@&!'
© Stefani Reynolds

Ousted Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chair Neil ChatterjeeNeil ChatterjeeOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats push Biden to pick Haaland as next Interior secretary | Trump administration proposal takes aim at bank pledges to avoid fossil fuel financing | Wasserman Schultz pitches climate plan in race to chair Appropriations Senate advances energy regulator nominees despite uncertainty of floor vote OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump takes major step toward Alaska wildlife refuge drilling opposed by Biden | Grijalva backs Haaland for Interior Secretary | Obama alumni considered top picks for Biden Energy secretary MORE spoke emotionally about his demotion by President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE in an early Saturday Facebook post, alluding that he was proud to have taken recent stances that may have irked the White House.

Chatterjee was replaced by newest FERC Commissioner James Danly, who has proven to be a more conservative vote in his time on the commission since March.

Chatterjee had recently signaled support for carbon pricing in electricity markets, a move that would be damaging for coal. Chatterjee also told E&E News that a refusal to implement Trump’s September order to suspend diversity trainings was a factor in the tumult.  

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“It’s been a difficult few days. I have dedicated almost the entirety of my professional career to public service. I am a deeply flawed person. I know for certain I have not always made the right decision. But I can honestly say that I tried to get it right to the best of my limited abilities,” Chatterjee wrote.

“My entire family has sacrificed a great deal so that I could have the opportunity to serve my country. I don’t give a f@&! what people think of me. I will be judged by my grandchildren. And as of this moment I am confident that I will be able to look them in the eyes when they ask me where I stood on the most significant issues of this time and be proud. This is not the last you will hear from me. Not even close. Onward.”

Chatterjee, who is Indian American, has been vocal in speaking out against police brutality, condemning events in Georgia and Minnesota calling them “as devastating as they are unjust.”

Chatterjee, a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell halts in-person Republican lunches amid COVID-19 surge Biden and reproductive health rights Biden's Cabinet a battleground for future GOP White House hopefuls MORE (R-Ky.), has not been shy about having higher political ambitions, creating a Facebook group titled “Hypothetical: Draft Neil Chatterjee for Virginia Governor 2021.”

Some Democrats have come out to condemn Chatterjee’s demotion, particularly as the typically-five member panel has dwindled to three members and the Senate slow-walks the confirmation process for Democratic appointees.

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“This is an outrageous attack on an independent agency at a time of transition,” House Energy and Commerce Chair Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) wrote in a statement Friday, arguing it was “as petty as it is wrong.”

“Most importantly, President Trump took the extraordinary step of installing in the chairmanship a commissioner with little experience in the energy industry,” Pallone said of Danly.

Attached to Chatterjee’s Facebook post is a screenshot of a post from an unknown source.

“Never thought I’d be defending McConnell’s ‘coal guy’ for getting demoted from FERC chair because he defended diversity training and a carbon tax, but it’s November 2020 and here we are.”