Today, the Senate approved the President’s nomination of Bernard McNamee to serve as a Commissioner on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The nomination was approved on a 50-49 vote with all of the Democrats voting against the nomination. A confirmation hearing on Mr. McNamee’s nomination was held on November 15. During the hearing, there was a focus on Mr. McNamee’s involvement, while at the Department of Energy (DOE), in the administration’s efforts to provide economic relief to struggling coal and nuclear plants. Mr. McNamee communicated that FERC rejected the administration’s proposal on a 5-0 vote earlier this year and that if confirmed he would be a fair, objective, and impartial arbiter in the cases that would come before him as a Commissioner. The Democrats cited Mr. McNamee’s involvement in DOE’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which proposed providing cost recovery to electric generation plants with 90 days of fuel onsite. This plan was viewed to have favored coal and nuclear generation over other forms of electricity generation. They also expressed concerns about a recently released video clip of a speech Mr. McNamee gave in which he made what they viewed as inflammatory remarks regarding deployment of renewable energy, the advocacy efforts of environmental groups and the promotion of fossil fuel use. The next step will be a vote on the Senate floor, the timing of which is unclear.
APGA sent a letter to Chairman Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Ranking Member Cantwell (D-Wash.) of the Senate Energy Committee in support of the nomination. In its letter, APGA communicates that Mr. McNamee’s “experience in energy law and policy makes him an excellent candidate for the Commission.” The letter also states that APGA “appreciates Mr. McNamee’s understanding of the vital role that the Commission plays in helping to ensure that all Americans have access to abundant and affordable energy."
Commissioner’s McNamee’s term expires in June 2020. A copy of APGA’s letter of support is available on the APGA website. For questions on this article, please contact Dave Schryver of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at email@example.com