Energy & Environment

More than 400 advocacy groups ask Biden to appoint environmentalist to energy commission

Greg Nash

A coalition of more than 450 environmental groups called on President Biden to appoint one of three candidates with pro-environment track records to replace a Republican commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

In a letter to Biden, 466 groups identified three potential candidates to replace Neil Chatterjee, who was appointed by then-President Trump in 2017. Although he was named chair of FERC in both August 2017 and again in October 2018, he was removed from the chairmanship by Trump in 2020 after endorsing a carbon-pricing system. Chatterjee’s term was set to expire this June.

Potential replacements floated in the letter include former Georgia Public Service Commission candidate Daniel Blackman; former Tennessee Democratic Senate candidate Marquita Bradshaw; and Clean Energy for Biden national co-chair Nidi Thakar.

All three hold policy positions that the letter describes as “crucial” to the future of U.S. energy infrastructure, including opposition to new fossil fuel development, support of integrating renewable and decentralized energy into the grid, and a commitment to environmental and energy justice.

“FERC has the power to approve or deny permits for new pipelines and export facilities,” the letter states. “Given that authority, it is critical that you appoint a new commissioner with a demonstrated commitment to phasing out fossil fuels, and who has a track record of addressing and reducing pollution in communities that have been harmed first and most by the extractive economy, including communities of color, Indigenous communities, and low-wealth communities.”

The candidates listed “can champion proven renewable technologies—especially decentralized systems like rooftop and community solar and storage—as well as prioritize energy efficiency measures and energy affordability, all of which bring significant economic and resilience benefits to impacted communities,” the letter adds.

Groups represented in the letter include the Center for Biological Diversity, the Indigenous Environmental Network, Friends of the Earth and the Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy. The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.

Tags Biden nominations Donald Trump environmentalist Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Joe Biden Neil Chatterjee
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