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Senate advances energy regulator nominees despite uncertainty of floor vote

Senate advances energy regulator nominees despite uncertainty of floor vote
© Greg Nash

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted on Wednesday to advance the nominations of Allison Clements and Mark Christie to be commissioners at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

However, it’s not clear whether the two nominees, whose confirmations would restore the commission to a full five members, will get a floor vote as the Senate session comes to a close. 

Committee Chairwoman Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump administration denies permit for controversial Pebble Mine Trump transition order follows chorus of GOP criticism The Memo: Trump election loss roils right MORE (R-Alaska) acknowledged the time frame in her opening remarks on Wednesday. 

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“It’s perhaps too early to say what the floor schedule will allow in December,” she said. “But if these nominees are confirmed, FERC would at least have a full complement of five commissioners headed into 2021, which is a far better place than the start of 2017.”

Neither nominee passed the committee unanimously.

Republican Sens. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight Senate advances energy regulator nominees despite uncertainty of floor vote Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee MORE (Wyo.), Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesRick Scott tests positive for coronavirus Biden eyes new leadership at troubled public lands agency OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight MORE (Mont.), John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight Meadows meets with Senate GOP to discuss end-of-year priorities Senate advances energy regulator nominees despite uncertainty of floor vote MORE (N.D.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeLoeffler isolating after possible COVID-19 infection Rick Scott tests positive for coronavirus OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee | Forest Service finalizes rule weakening environmental review of its projects | Biden to enlist Agriculture, Transportation agencies in climate fight MORE (Utah) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (Miss.) voted against Clements, and Sen. Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoHillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk Democrats urge YouTube to remove election misinformation, step up efforts ahead of Georgia runoff YouTube temporarily suspends OANN account after spreading coronavirus misinformation MORE (D-Hawaii) voted against Christie. 

FERC regulates natural gas and hydropower projects and the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil and electricity. It’s not supposed to have more than three members of any one party. 

Adding Clements and Christie, a Democrat and Republican, respectively, to the commission would create a 3-2 Republican majority on the panel. 

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Republican James Danly was not paired with a Democratic nominee when he was added to the panel, and the Democratic seat on the commission was left empty. 

Leadership at FERC, which is up to the president’s discretion, recently underwent a shake-up, with Trump appointing Danly chairman, replacing 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 MOREChatterjee, who is also a Republican, will remain on the commission. 

In remarks praising both nominees on Wednesday, Sen. Maria CantwellMaria Elaine CantwellTwo more parting shots from Trump aimed squarely at disabled workers Senate advances energy regulator nominees despite uncertainty of floor vote OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: Esper reportedly working with lawmakers to strip Confederate names from bases | Enemy attacks in Afghanistan jump by 50 percent, watchdog says | Fort Hood soldier arrested, charged in Chelsea Cheatham killing MORE (D-Wash.) called Chatterjee’s demotion “unjustified.”