The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission remains down to one member and unable to conduct business.
Last week, President Donald Trump nominated Richard Glick, the general counsel of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, to fill one of the vacant seats on the five-member panel, so there are now three nominees awaiting U.S. Senate confirmation.
The lack of a quorum has prevented action on projects such as the $2 billion NEXUS Gas Transmission pipeline, which would run through Medina County. The natural gas project, first proposed in August 2014, has been awaiting final action from FERC since Nov. 30.
FERC lost its quorum to operate in February.
Trump replaced Chairman Norman Bay with Cheryl LaFleur named as acting chair, leading to Bay’s resignation Feb. 3. LaFleur then became the lone member of the commission with the expiration of Colette D. Honorable’s term June 30.
On June 28, Trump tapped Glick to fill the remainder of a five-year term that expires June 30, 2022.
Glick joins Trump’s two other nominees — Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson, who each were approved 20-3 by the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources committee June 6. The full Senate will next take up the pair for consideration.
The committee chair, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said at the time of the vote that it’s “critical to restore a working quorum at FERC as soon as possible.”
Chatterjee has served as an energy policy adviser to U.S. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Powelson is a member of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.
Glick’s previous experience in the energy industry includes:
- vice president, government affairs for Iberdrola businesses in the United States. Iberdrola is a Spanish multinational electric utility
- director of government affairs for PPM Energy of Portland, Ore.
- director of government affairs for PacifiCorp, a multi-state electric utility in Portland, Ore.
- senior policy adviser to former Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson
- legislative director and chief counsel to former Sen. Dale Bumpers, D-Ark.
He has degrees from George Washington University and the Georgetown University Law Center.
FERC is also a defendant in a lawsuit pending in the U.S. District Court for Northern Ohio.
On May 12, more than 60 people from Medina, Summit and Stark counties joined in a 50-page complaint naming both NEXUS and the commission as defendants.
On June 20, attorneys for the commission asked that the case be dismissed.
A Final Environmental Impact Statement, or FEIS, was submitted to FERC last Nov. 30 approving the project’s original route that includes Medina County.
Since then, NEXUS has been awaiting a certificate of approval to begin construction.
The lawsuit asks that the court “vacate and overturn” the impact statement. It also asks that FERC be prohibited from approving the project and that NEXUS be ordered to stop attempting to access properties and communicate with owners and not to reach any legal agreements with them. It also asks for attorney fees.
The case was assigned to Judge John Adams in the court’s Akron office.
NEXUS is a business consortium made up of Houston-based Spectra Energy, DTE Energy of Detroit, and Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge Inc.
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