President Trump just brushed aside FERC Chairman Norman Bay, one of the few FERC Commissioners to show any reservations about FERC’s rubberstamping of pipelines, and put Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur back once again as Acting Chairman. This while FERC has only three Commissions, when it’s supposed to have five, probably indicates FERC is going to be pushing ahead all pipeline projects. Of course, that’s not much different from what we’ve seen for years with Sabal Trail.
Johnathan Crawford and Jennifer A. Diouhy, Bloomberg Politics, 19 January 2017, Trump Picks LaFleur as Chairman of U.S. Energy Regulator, Sources Say,
LaFleur’s appointment could signal the end of current chairman Norman Bay’s efforts to more heavily regulate power and gas trading in the U.S. Under his leadership, the commission has gone after energy giants including BP Plc and Total SA for alleged market manipulation. The change also comes as the agency is facing increasing scrutiny over its approvals of natural gas pipelines being built to carry supplies from booming shale formations to market.
Meanwhile, this same day on the FERC website front page:
Outage Notice: 10:00 a.m. ET, Thursday, January 26, 2017 – eLibrary searches are retrieving incomplete results, we are currently working to resolve this issue.
That’s enough to make me wonder what will be missing when FERC’s ever-flaky elibrary comes back up this time. Meanwhile, the FERC eLibrary Alternate Site is up and running, and shows ten recent comments by individuals on the Sabal Trail Docket CP15-17.
FERC News Release, 26 January 2017, President Trump Names Cheryl LaFleur Acting Chairman,
Cheryl LaFleur made the following statement on the announcement that President Trump has named her Acting Chairman of FERC:
“It is an honor to again be asked to serve as Acting Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and I thank President Trump for the opportunity. While I recognize that FERC is in a state of transition as we await nominations to fill vacant seats at the agency, it is important that FERC’s work on the nation’s energy markets and infrastructure move forward. I would particularly like to thank Chairman Norman Bay for his leadership of the Commission over the past two years, and I look forward to working with him, Commissioner Colette Honorable, the terrific staff throughout the agency, and future colleagues at FERC to continue to address the important energy issues facing our nation.”
Acting Chairman LaFleur has been a member of the Commission since 2010. She served as Acting Chairman of the Commission from November 2013 to July 2014 and as Chairman from July 2014 until April 2015.
Prior to joining the Commission, Acting Chairman LaFleur had more than 20 years’ experience as a leader in the electric and natural gas industry. She served as executive vice president and acting CEO of National Grid USA, responsible for the delivery of electricity to 3.4 million customers in the Northeast. Her previous positions at National Grid USA and its predecessor New England Electric System included chief operating officer, president of the New England distribution companies, and general counsel. She led major efforts to improve reliability and employee safety. Earlier in her career, she was responsible for leading award-winning conservation and demand response programs for customers. Acting Chairman LaFleur began her career as an attorney at Ropes and Gray in Boston. She has a J.D. from Harvard Law School and an A.B. from Princeton University.
-jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®
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