Democratic Senate Staffer Tapped as Federal Energy Regulator

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By Catherine Douglas Moran

A Democratic Senate staff member tapped to fill a vacancy at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could bring years of energy expertise, colleagues say.

President Donald Trump announced June 28 plans to nominate Richard Glick, who’s acted as Democratic general counsel on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee since February 2016, as a member for a five-year term expiring June 30, 2022. He would take the place of exiting Democratic Commissioner Colette Honorable.

“Glick has had an accomplished career working on many of the cutting-edge issues associated with the transformation of our energy sector,” Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), the Energy Committee’s ranking member and Glick’s boss, said in a June 29 statement.

Glick was a registered lobbyist from 2001 to 2016, working for PacifiCorp, a multi-state electric utility company, and Iberdrola Renewables, a subsidiary of Iberdrola, S.A., an energy firm which is now under AVANGRID Inc. Prior to his work on the Senate committee, Glick was vice president of government affairs for Iberdrola’s renewable energy, electric and gas utility, and natural gas storage businesses in the U.S. Before that, he was the director of government affairs for both PacifiCorp and PPM Energy, an environmental consulting and engineering firm.

The next step is for Trump to formally announce Glick’s nomination to FERC, an independent agency that regulates interstate natural gas, oil, and electricity transmissions in addition to projects with natural gas and hydropower.

Agency Has Lacked Quorum

The agency currently has two sitting Democratic commissioners: Acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur and Honorable, whose last day is June 30. The agency, which consists of five commissioners when fully staffed, will be down to one in July. The agency has been without a quorum of at least three commissioners since February. Three of the five are also from the party in the White House.

Daniel Yergin, vice chairman of IHS and founder of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, urged swift confirmation of FERC nominees at a June 29 White House energy event.

“We usually talk about billions of dollars, but the cheapest investment we can make in infrastructure is for the Senate to approve the [FERC] commissioners that the administration has nominated,” Yergin said.

Two Republican FERC nominees that Trump nominated in May were reported out of the Senate committee in June and await a Senate floor vote. The Republican nominees are Neil Chatterjee, a longtime energy staff member for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Robert Powelson, the president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. Trump can nominate another Republican to fill one more vacancy.

The most likely scenario is that the Senate would move the Republican nominees forward after Congress returns July 10 from its upcoming recess, Christi Tezak, the managing director for ClearView Energy Partners LLC, told Bloomberg BNA.

“Genuinely Nice Guy”

Shirley Neff, a senior adviser for the U.S. Energy Information Administration, told Bloomberg BNA that Glick would be a “phenomenal” commissioner because of his attention to detail, an ability to explain complex energy issues, and negotiation skills.

“I have no doubt that Rich would be very careful in everything he does, and I know he listens to other people,” Neff, who formerly worked for the Senate Energy Committee said. “And he’s a genuinely nice guy.”

From 1998 to 2001 he served as a senior policy adviser to then-Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson, according to the White House news release. Before that he was the legislative director and chief counsel to former Sen. Dale Bumpers (D-Ark.), who died in 2016. Glick was an associate at the law firm Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand from 1988 to 1992. He graduated from George Washington University and Georgetown University Law Center.

Don Santa, president and chief executive officer of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, expressed support for Glick as a FERC commissioner in a June 29 statement.

“We respect Glick’s depth of experience and subject-matter expertise, and urge the president to follow up soon with a formal nomination,” Santa, a former FERC commissioner and majority counsel to the Senate Energy Committee, said in the statement.

—With assistance from Rebecca Kern.

To contact the reporter on this story: Catherine Douglas Moran in Washington at cmoran@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachael Daigle at rdaigle@bna.com

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