Senate Confirms Nominees to FERC

The U.S. Senate Confirmed Three Nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

The U.S. Senate has confirmed President Joe Biden’s three nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which regulates major energy infrastructure projects that require federal approval.

While best known for its often-controversial decisions regarding gas and oil pipelines, FERC is also playing an increasingly important role in the effort to modernize the nation’s electric power transmission grid. That task is essential to collecting and distributing the growing network of wind, solar, and battery storage energy. Recently, FERC approved new rules designed to further that effort. 

The Confirmation’s Importance

By confirming the three new Biden appointees, the Senate has guaranteed Biden’s policies supporting clean energy development and transmission will continue to have FERC regulatory support beyond the end of his first term. 

While one of the new commissioners is regarded as unfriendly to strong efforts to cut carbon emissions, the other two join a remaining incumbent commissioner to create a 3-2 environmentally-friendly majority. “Having a full complement of five commissioners will allow FERC to keep advancing the vital work needed to deliver reliable, affordable and clean power to everyone around the country,” said Ted Kelly, director of clean energy at the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund.

Christy Walsh, Senior Attorney and Federal Markets Director with the Sustainable FERC Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), agreed. “FERC is at the center of the clean energy transition, and with a full FERC Commission we now can focus on the hard work ahead,” she said. “There are tough challenges that must be addressed, chiefly, providing badly needed system upgrades, addressing a scarcity of transmission capacity, and implementing long overdue, commonsense guardrails to our natural gas system. We look forward to working with the new Commissioners in the coming years.” 

Click here for a more detailed look at some of the key issues which FERC will face. Additionally, you can read more about how FERC decisions impact life and environmental justice communities in NC.

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