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Power & Pipes

FERC, CFTC, and State Energy Law Developments

In a narrow 50-49 vote, the US Senate on December 6 confirmed Bernard L. McNamee, the current head of the US Department of Energy’s Office of Policy, to join the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Mr. McNamee, the third Republican on the five-member Commission, was nominated by President Donald Trump in October to fill the vacant seat formerly occupied by former Commissioner Robert Powelson, who stepped down earlier this year. Once Mr. McNamee is sworn in, the Commission will return to full strength, with two Democratic and three Republican appointees.

Mr. McNamee’s nomination to the Commission has made headlines in recent months, in part because of his prior involvement with a Trump administration proposal on cost recovery for baseload generators in organized markets on the basis of fuel security and power system resilience. Although the original administration proposal was rejected by the Commission earlier this year, grid resiliency and fuel security issues remain under consideration by the Commission and it remains possible that the Trump administration will put forward new proposals on the issue. Mr. McNamee has resisted calls from certain members of Congress for his recusal from any related proceedings that may appear before the Commission.

Mr. McNamee will serve out the remainder of a term that ends in June 2020.