On June 20, 2019, FERC Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur announced on Twitter that she will be leaving FERC at the end of August after serving on the Commission for nine years.  She first announced her intent to leave the Commission in January of this year.  In her recent announcement, Commissioner LaFleur noted that the July open meeting will be her last meeting as a commissioner.  FERC currently has four members—Commissioners Neil Chatterjee and Bernard McNamee, who are Republicans, and Commissioners LaFleur and Richard Glick, who are Democrats.  Assuming no nominee is confirmed by the end of August, Commissioner LaFleur’s departure would leave FERC with a two to one Republican majority, and a minimum number of commissioners for a quorum.
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On May 15, 2019, with the support of various Democratic co-sponsors, Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) reintroduced the “Public Engagement at FERC Act” (S. 1477) to amend the Federal Power Act to establish an Office of Public Participation and Consumer Advocacy (“Office of PPCA” or “Office”).  The bill was first introduced by Senator Shaheen in 2017 and was created to assist residential and small commercial energy consumers in participating in FERC proceedings.
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On December 6, 2018, the United States Senate confirmed Bernard L. McNamee as a FERC Commissioner.  President Donald Trump nominated McNamee to fill the vacancy left by Commissioner Robert Powelson following Powelson’s August 2018 resignation from FERC to become president and CEO of the National Association of Water Companies (see October 9, 2018 edition of the WER).  McNamee was sworn in on December 11, 2018, returning FERC to its full five-member complement.
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On November 15, 2018, Bernard L. McNamee, who has been nominated to fill the vacancy left by former FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson, testified before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (“Committee”).  Currently, Mr. McNamee heads the Department of Energy’s (“DOE”) Office of Policy.
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On October 22, 2018, FERC Commissioner Kevin McIntyre announced in a letter to President Donald Trump that he would step down from his role as Chairman and would continue his work as Commissioner.  In addition, President Trump announced on October 24, 2018 that current FERC Commissioner and former Chairman Neil Chatterjee would replace Commissioner McIntyre as FERC Chairman.
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Troutman Sanders LLP has authored the 2019 Alternative Energy & Power Guide for Chambers and Partners. The firm’s Energy and Capital Projects & Infrastructure practices were asked by Chambers to be the exclusive contributor for the section. Associates Jamond Perry and Meghan Mandel and partners Christopher JonesAmie ColbyAnne DaileyBill

On September 28, 2018, President Donald Trump signed into law Public Law No: 115-247, amending Federal Power Act (“FPA”) section 203 to add a $10 million threshold for public utility mergers and acquisitions requiring FERC approval.  The new law will also require FERC to (i) issue a rule to require any public utility to notify FERC, after 30 days of the close of the transaction, if the value of the merger is more than $1 million but less than $10 million and (ii) submit a report to Congress assessing the impacts of the new law.  The amendments to FPA section 203 will become effective on March 27, 2019. 
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On October 1, 2018, FERC released its Strategic Plan for fiscal years 2018-2022.  FERC affirmed its mission of maintaining reliable, efficient, and sustainable energy for consumers by setting three primary goals: (1) ensuring that rates, terms, and conditions are just, reasonable, and not unduly discriminatory or preferential; (2) promoting the development of safe, reliable, and efficient energy infrastructure that serves the public interest through the review of natural gas and hydropower infrastructure proposals; and (3) managing resourcing to support its mission through organizational excellence.
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