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Commissioner Bay Resigns From Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

On January 26, 2017, former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman and current Commissioner Norman Bay announced his resignation from the Commission, effective February 3, 2017 (Commissioner Bay’s resignation letter to President Trump is available here). Commissioner Bay’s announcement followed on the heels of President Trump’s decision to appoint Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur as FERC’s Acting Chairman.  Commissioner Bay’s resignation will leave FERC with only two Commissioners, which is less than a quorum.  Without a quorum, FERC cannot make final decisions on most issues, including contested rate making issues, public utility transactions, and interstate natural gas pipeline and LNG facility certificates.  However, under delegated authority FERC Staff will be able to issue letter orders approving certain uncontested items, such as applications under Section 203 and Section 205 of the Federal Power Act, and to issue notices to proceed, schedules of environmental review, and environmental review documents for natural gas pipeline and LNG projects.  In addition, hearings pending before FERC’s administrative law judges should be able to continue to progress, though the Commission will not be able to approve settlements or take other formal action until a quorum is in place.

Thus far, President Trump has not formally nominated anyone to fill the vacant Commission seats and given the number of cabinet nominations already in the confirmation process, it will likely take some time for any of the vacant Commission seats to be filled. Thus, barring a significant push from the industry to prioritize the vacant Commission seats, it could be weeks or months until a quorum can be reached at the Commission and normal activity resumed.

Copyright 2021 K & L GatesNational Law Review, Volume VII, Number 27
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About this Author

William Keyser, KL Gates Law Firm, Energy Law Attorney
Partner

William Keyser, a partner in Washington, D.C., focuses his practice on regulatory litigation and transactions involving the nation’s electricity and capacity markets. Will represents clients before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Department of Energy, federal and state courts and state public utility commissions. His clients include electric utilities, transmission providers, independent power providers, hydro electric power producers, power marketers, public utility holding companies, and debt and equity investors. Will has represented and counseled...

202-661-3863
Sandra Safro, KL Gates Law Firm, Energy Attorney
Partner

Ms. Safro is a partner in the firm's Washington, D.C. office. She focuses her practice on regulatory, policy, and transactional issues related primarily to natural gas, liquefied natural gas (LNG), crude oil, and natural gas liquids (NGLs). Ms. Safro regularly advises clients on matters related to commodity and pipeline transportation issues, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) policies related to capacity release and in the negotiation of precedent agreements, negotiated rate agreements, asset management arrangements, transportation service...

202-778-9178
Molly Suda, KL Gates, electricity markets lawyer, FERC compliance attorney
Associate

Molly Suda focuses her practice on regulatory compliance, enforcement, and transactional matters involving electric utilities, electric transmission owners, independent power producers, power marketers, and public utility holding companies that are active in the electricity, capacity, and ancillary services markets in the United States. Ms. Suda regularly represents clients before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), federal courts, and the Department of Justice and advises on issues before state public utility commissions. Ms. Suda has represented clients in...

202-778-9452
David Wochner, KL Gates Law Firm, Public Policy Attorney
Practice Area Leader

Mr. Wochner has advised, represented and advocated on behalf of clients on natural gas, LNG and oil related matters, including natural gas and oil commodity and pipeline transportation issues, LNG imports and exports, and natural gas as a transportation fuel, before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Departments of Energy, Transportation and the Interior, EPA and on Capitol Hill. He served as lead Washington counsel on behalf of a major international drilling company in multiple Congressional and federal agency investigations and hearings related to the...

202-778-9014
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