(Couldn’t resist; rest in peace Gene Wilder, you were a brilliant actor and this was one of your finest)
Thursday evening, President Trump announced his intent to make his final appointment to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: Kevin McIntyre, a well-respected Jones Day energy attorney. Mr. McIntryre’s name has been out there for several months; now it looks like it’s going to happen. Once confirmed, McIntyre is expected to be tapped as the Republican-appointed majority Chairman.
According to The Hill, Trump is asking the Senate to confirm McIntyre to two terms, through 2023. This sounds more bombastic than it really is; Commissioner terms are staggered, 5-year terms. Ron Powelson is getting a seat that expires in June 2020, Neil Chatterjee is getting a seat that expires June 2021, Richard Glick is getting a seat that expires in June 2022, and current sitting Chairwoman LaFleur’s seat expires in June 2019. That leaves the seat that expires June 2018. The law says that “any Commissioner appointed to fill a vacancy occurring prior to the expiration of the term for which his predecessor was appointed shall be appointed only for the remainder of such term.” And it would be very awkward for the Trump Administration to tap an established energy practitioner to lead the Commission, only to have to work for his reappointment after a short period of time on the job. Perhaps not that appealing to Mr. McIntyre either.
For you legal eagles out there that read my insights, the details of FERC appointments can be found in 42 U.S.C. § 7171(b).
As we wait for the Glick and McIntyre confirmation hearings, I watch the Senate Executive Calendar daily (ok, this may be a bit of a stretch, I do have a life), wondering if we will see action on Chatterjee and Powelson before Congress takes the month of August off. We can only hope. FERC’s backlog is growing. We need a fully functioning Commission as soon as possible.