On August 10, 2017, Robert Powelson was officially sworn-in as a FERC Commissioner, restoring the three-Commissioner quorum necessary for FERC to resume regular business and vote on matters before it. Commissioner Powelson joins Commissioner Neil Chatterjee, who was sworn in on August 8, 2017, and Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur. On the same day as Commissioner Powelson’s swearing-in, President Trump named Commissioner Chatterjee to be Chairman until one of the remaining FERC Commissioner nominees, Kevin McIntyre, is confirmed by the Senate and sworn in.
FERC has already announced that it will resume its monthly open meeting schedule beginning Wednesday, September 20, 2017, and that the Commission will soon begin voting notationally on orders that have been held up since the quorum was lost following the resignation of former Chairman Norman Bay on February 3, 2017 (see January 31, 2017 edition of the WER). After former Chairman Bay’s resignation, FERC Staff continued to act on certain pending matters under delegated authority from 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 was restored.
President Trump’s May 2017 nominations of Commissioners Powelson and Chatterjee were confirmed by the Senate on August 3, 2017. The nominations of Richard Glick and Kevin McIntyre, President Trump’s two remaining nominees to the five-member Commission, are scheduled for consideration by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on September 7, 2017.