By Rich Heidorn Jr.
WASHINGTON — FERC Commissioner Tony Clark announced Thursday he will not seek reappointment when his term expires in June.
“After discussing with my family over the holidays we have decided to not seek another term on the commission,” he said at the opening of the commission’s monthly meeting. “It has been a wonderful run here and I’ve enjoyed the 12 years prior to this on the North Dakota [Public Service] Commission and a number of years prior to that in state government. I’ve enjoyed it a lot, but there comes a time when you just feel like it’s time to do a little something else.”
Clark, 44, was elected to the North Dakota legislature at age 23. “So I’ve been in government a long time,” he said.
With the departure of Commissioner Philip Moeller in October, Clark became the lone Republican on the commission. He said he may serve beyond the end of his term if a replacement has not yet been confirmed.
Clark said he wanted to announce his plans now to give notice to his staff and those who may be interested in replacing him. “So I thought I would announce today rather than play coy for the next six months or so.”
Chairman Norman Bay said he was sorry to lose Clark, promising to celebrate and “roast” him at a future meeting. “You’ve been just an amazing colleague,” he said.
Clark, who joined the commission in 2012, is now second in seniority only to Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur. He has become increasingly assertive in the past year. (See No Longer at the End of the Table, Lone Republican Takes on Larger Role.)
On Thursday, he commented on the repeated interruptions of the commission meetings by protesters opposed to the commission’s approval of natural gas pipelines. “I find it rather ironic, he said, “that just 24 hours before a very major winter storm on the East Coast, we have people protesting the very infrastructure that will keep them alive over the next 72 hours.”