Monday, February 18, 2019

Trump Names Energy Lawyer McIntyre as FERC Chair

By Michael Brooks

The White House on Thursday announced that President Trump intends to nominate lawyer Kevin McIntyre as chairman of FERC.

The coleader of Jones Day’s energy practice in D.C., McIntyre has represented energy companies in litigation, compliance and enforcement matters and corporate transactions.

McIntyre, who has been rumored for months as Trump’s choice for the chair, would join more than a dozen other Jones Day alumni in the administration, including White House Counsel Don McGahn, a former Jones Day partner. Trump’s campaign reportedly has paid the firm $3.3 million in legal fees since 2015.

The White House said Trump will ask the Senate to confirm McIntyre for the remainder of former Chair Norman Bay’s term, which ends in 2018, and a full term ending in 2023.

McIntyre’s naming would fill the third Republican vacancy on the five-member commission, which could soon be restored to full strength.

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner Robert Powelson and Neil Chatterjee, energy adviser to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), both Republicans, have already advanced out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and are awaiting confirmation votes by the full Senate. Trump has also said he intends to nominate Richard Glick, general counsel for the Democrats on the committee. (See Trump Taps Senate Aide, Former Lobbyist for FERC.)

Trump has yet to officially nominate Glick, however. And Chatterjee and Powelson are on a list of 44 others awaiting a confirmation vote.

The Senate has been mired in its effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. McConnell on July 11 announced he would delay the chamber’s usual August recess for two weeks to ensure more time to complete action on legislation and nominations.

FERC has been down to one commissioner — acting Chair Cheryl LaFleur — since the departure of Commissioner Colette Honorable at the end of last month. It has been without the necessary three-person quorum since Bay left in February.

ferc trump kevin mcintyre

Acting FERC Chair Cheryl LaFleur (second from right) will be joined by four new members if Democrat Richard Glick (far right) and Republicans Kevin McIntyre (center), Robert Powelson (far left) and Neil Chatterjee win Senate confirmation.

The Natural Gas Supply Association and the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas released a joint statement praising McIntyre’s nomination but lamenting the amount of time it is taking to restore FERC’s quorum.

“Billions of dollars of investment and thousands of job opportunities in the U.S. continue to be sidelined by a lack of a quorum at FERC,” NGSA CEO Dena Wiggins said. “It is essential that the nominees be given the opportunity to be approved as quickly as possible.”

CLNG Executive Director Charlie Riedl added: “Restoring a quorum at FERC is essential to the LNG approval process, and we hope that Kevin McIntyre and the rest of the nominees will have their floor vote as soon as possible.”