On July 15, 2014, the U.S. Senate approved President Obama’s nominations of Norman Bay and Cheryl LaFleur to the Commission. Mr. Bay is FERC’s current enforcement chief and was President Obama’s nominee to serve as FERC Chairman. Currently the Acting Chairman, LaFleur was nominated to another term as a Commissioner (see June 20, 2014 edition of the WER). Bay will complete the five year term of a position that has remained empty after the retirement of former Chairman Wellinghoff last fall, with a term expiring in 2018. LaFleur’s second term will expire in 2019.
In exchange for the approval, the White House agreed to a deal whereby LaFleur will continue to lead FERC for nine months as in the role of Chair before reverting to Commissioner. At that time Bay will become Chair. Whether LaFleur will be Acting or Full Chairman during this time remains unclear. Bay received a sufficient number of votes to be confirmed, with a count of 52-45. LaFleur had wide bipartisan support and was confirmed by a vote of 90-7.