On September 16, 2020, the United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (“Committee”) held a hearing to consider Allison Clements’ and Mark C. Christies’ pending FERC nominations as FERC Commissioners. Ms. Clements is slated to join the Commission for a term expiring June 24, 2024, and Mr. Christie is set to join for a term expiring June 30, 2025.
At the hearing, Ms. Clements stated she was interested in the role, despite partisan division, because she firmly believes public service is a “high calling.” She also noted that she feels uniquely equipped to fill the role and has “tremendous respect” for FERC and its role as an independent, bipartisan commission. Prior to the nomination, Ms. Clements spent her entire career in the energy space including as a lawyer for the National Resources Defense Counsel, the director of the energy markets program at the Energy Foundation, and as a Member of the National Academies of Science Committee that produced a report on enhancing the resilience of the nation’s electrical system. Upon nominating Ms. Clements, President Donald Trump said, “she will bring the Commission over two decades of experience dealing with federal energy regulatory policy, energy markets, and electric grid issues.”
Judge Christie, in response to being nominated, said his nomination is a recognition of “national stature” and due to the respect the Virginia State Corporation Commission (“SCC”) has earned over many years “defending the public interest.” Judge Christie currently serves as chairman of the SCC and has served as an elected state regulator for more than sixteen years. Judge Christie was elected to the SCC on a bipartisan basis three times since 2004 by both houses of the Virginia legislature. Judge Christie also formerly served in the U.S. Marine Corps.
In her introduction, Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) noted that FERC nomination hearings provide a good opportunity to affirm that the decisions FERC commissioners make matter to the entire nation. Chairman Murkowski highlighted FERC’s duties (e.g., to approve the siting of interstate national gas pipelines, license and inspects hydro projects, regulates and protects the reliability of high voltage interstate transmission system), and noted that the Congressional Research Service estimated FERC’s economic reach at roughly three percent of gross domestic product.
Committee Ranking Member Joseph Manchin (D-West Virginia) noted Judge Christie will bring the important perspective of a state regulator. Senator Manchin also remarked that he is pleased that the President sent a balanced bipartisan pairing. Both Chairman Murkowski and Ranking member Manchin expressed their strong desire to have a “full complement” of five commissioners at FERC.
To watch the full hearing, click here.