D.C. Appoints two for FERC

August 10, 2017

INDUSTRY NEWS (Washington, D.C.) – Before leaving town, the U.S. Senate handed President Donald Trump and the oil industry two long-sought regulatory appointments that could expedite construction of natural gas pipelines nationwide.


Since February, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has lacked a quorum to decide on new projects, frustrating the oil and gas industry, which lobbied Trump and the Senate to fill vacant seats. Just before its August recess, the Senate delivered, approving the nominations of Republicans Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson to serve on the commission, commonly known as FERC.


Energy lobbyists were giddy following the vote, optimistic the commission will quickly act on a backlog of multibillion-dollar gas pipelines proposed in states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, the Virginias and North Carolina.


“The long day’s journey into night for energy infrastructure is over,” said Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, a coalition of energy industries. With FERC’s quorum restored, “It will be time to get back to work!” he added.


These are boom times for pipeline developers, partly because of the huge volumes of natural gas being fracked from the Marcellus Shale of West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Supporters say this fracking could boost production of gas-fired electricity, bringing down prices and allowing utilities to switch from coal to a cleaner-burning fuel.


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