On the evening of August 3, 2017, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to confirm Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson, two of President Donald Trump’s nominees to join Acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur as FERC Commissioners. Once Chatterjee and Powelson are officially sworn in at the Commission, the quorum that has been lacking since former Chairman Norman Bay resigned earlier this year will be restored, enabling the Commission to vote on matters before it. On September 7, 2017, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources also is scheduled to consider the nominations of Richard Glick and Kevin McIntyre—the final two nominees for the five-member Commission whose names the White House sent to the Senate in August.
Since former Chairman Bay’s departure from FERC on February 3, 2017 created the absence of the three-Commissioner quorum necessary for the Commission to vote (see January 31, 2017 edition of the WER), FERC Staff has continued to act on certain pending matters under the authority delegated to it by the Commission (see February 3, 2017 Troutman Sanders Alert). However, more significant matters related to rulemakings, contested proceedings, and other major agency actions were essentially stalled until a quorum is restored.