The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted 20-3 Tuesday to advance Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson, President Trump’s nominees for FERC.
Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) voted no.
“Both FERC nominees failed to commit to avoiding political interference from the White House or maximizing public engagement in proposed energy projects,” Wyden said. “Given FERC’s important role in energy infrastructure in Oregon and communities across the country, I am also concerned that nominating commissioners from only one political party is a signal from the White House that it has no intention of ensuring FERC continues as the bipartisan and independent agency it has long been. I will continue to insist FERC considers local voices in its decisions and that the administration moves beyond politics to keep FERC bipartisan and independent.”
Otherwise, the nominees received bipartisan support.
“I am assured both have understood the important role that FERC plays in ensuring fair markets and guarding against market manipulation,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), the committee’s ranking member.
This prompted Ted Glick, of environmental group Beyond Extreme Energy, to interrupt the meeting with shouts of protest against FERC. The hearing was interrupted two more times.
The committee also advanced Trump’s nominees for deputy secretary of energy and deputy secretary of the interior, Dan Brouillette and David Bernhardt respectively, mostly on party line votes. The committee voted 17-6 for Brouillette and 14-9 for Bernhardt.
— Michael Brooks