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President Trump names Danly new FERC chairman, replacing Chatterjee

President Donald Trump today named James Danly chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), replacing Neil Chatterjee who has served in this position since October 2018.

Danly has served as a commissioner since March 2020. Before that he served as general counsel to FERC since joining in 2017.

“It has been my utmost pleasure to have served under Neil Chatterjee, both as General Counsel and alongside him as Commissioner,” Danly said. “I have learned a tremendous amount from his expertise and insight, and I am proud of the work we’ve been able to accomplish under his thoughtful watch.

“Neil has truly left his mark on FERC and the energy sector by brokering a significant agreement allowing us to move forward with liquefied natural gas terminals, which helped secure our American energy independence,” Danly added. “He also made a lasting impact through his commitment to protecting competitive markets, modernizing our policies under PURPA, expediting the approvals of much-needed critical energy infrastructure and so much more.”

Chatterjee joined the commission in 2017 and served as chairman from August to December 2017 and since October 2018. Chatterjee will stay on as commissioner through the end of his term, which expires in June 2021. He congratulated Danly on his appointment and said FERC will be well-served by Danly’s leadership.

“It’s been the honor of a lifetime to serve as the Chairman of FERC alongside my colleagues and staff, who represent some of the most talented and hardworking professionals in the U.S. government,” he said.

“During my tenure, we’ve faced challenges like overcoming the significant no-quorum backlog to grappling with an unprecedented global pandemic. But we’ve had a great many achievements as well, including bringing PURPA regulations in line with today’s realities, building out our energy infrastructure and approving LNG terminals, unleashing the power of new technologies like storage and distributed energy resources, and most recently taking groundbreaking action to consider carbon pricing, just to name a few.

“All of these actions have significantly contributed to making American energy more reliable, resilient and accessible for the people we serve,” Chatterjee said. “But our work – my work – at the Commission isn’t over. I look forward to working with my friend, Chairman Danly, as well as the next Administration.”

Multiple news agencies have reported that Chatterjee possibly was replaced due to his recent support of a plan to incorporate state carbon pricing policies into power grid operators’ markets. The Washington Examiner reported that Chatterjee said “‘perhaps’ the Trump administration was retaliating against him for his recent actions.”

“I have obviously been out there promoting a conservative market-based approach to carbon mitigation and sending signals the commission is open to considering a carbon price, and perhaps that led to this,” Chatterjee told the Washington Examiner. “Quite frankly, if in fact this was retribution for my independence, I am quite proud of that.”

FERC is an independent agency that regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil and electricity. FERC also regulates natural gas and hydropower projects.