President Donald Trump nominated two officials to key positions in the administration, filling voids in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that have kept the commission inactive for months.
Trump nominated Neil Chatterjee of Kentucky to be a member of FERC for the term expiring June 30, 2021.
Chatterjee is energy policy advisor to Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Over the years he has played an integral role in the passage of energy, highway, and farm legislation.
Prior to serving McConnell, he worked as a principal in government relations for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and as an aide to House Republican Conference Chairwoman Deborah Pryce of Ohio.
He began his career in Washington, D.C., with the House Committee on Ways and Means. A Lexington, Kentucky native, he is a graduate of St. Lawrence University and the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
Trump also nominated Robert F. Powelson of Pennsylvania to be a member of FERC for the term expiring June 30, 2020. Commissioner Powelson has served as a commissioner on the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission since 2008.
Commissioner Powelson was first nominated to the PUC on June 19, 2008, by Gov. Edward G. Rendell and appointed chairman by Gov. Tom Corbett in 2011. Currently, Commissioner Powelson serves as the president of National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) based in Washington, D.C. Commissioner Powelson serves on the Electric Power Research Institute Advisory Board (EPRI) as well as the Drexel University Board of Trustees.
From 1994 to 2008, Powelson served as the president and CEO of the Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry based in Malvern, Pennsylvania. In 2005, he was selected by the Eisenhower Presidential Fellow to be a United States fellow in Singapore and Australia.
Commissioner Powelson holds a Bachelor of Administration from St. Joseph’s University and a Master of Governmental Administration with a concentration in public finance from the University of Pennsylvania.
If confirmed, Chatterjee and Powelson would give FERC a quorum after several months without one. Norman Bay resigned as a commissioner after Trump replaced him as chairman with Cheryl LaFleur. Commissioner Colette Honorable retired shortly after that.
Groups like the Sierra Club have opposed many of Trump’s pro-fossil-fuel appointees.
Chatterjee is 40 and calls Kentucky home. He has a national energy advisor to U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell. He helped guide government relations for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association prior to that.
FERC has not had a quorum for several months due to previous departures.