October 4, 2018

FERC Nomination Shows Trump’s Intent to Politicize Independent Commission

Statement by Rob Cowin, Union of Concerned Scientists

WASHINGTON (October 4, 2018)— President Donald Trump has nominated Bernard McNamee, a key player in the administration’s failed coal and nuclear bailout proposal, to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). McNamee currently serves as the executive director of the Energy Department’s Office of Policy and, if confirmed, would fill the seat of former FERC commissioner Robert Powelson.

Below is a statement by Rob Cowin, director of climate and energy government affairs at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“It appears the administration is trying to stack FERC with loyalists who are eager to put their politics on electricity ahead of what’s best for consumers and the climate.

“FERC plays a vital role ensuring our electricity system is reliable as well as protecting ratepayers from excessively high electricity bills, but its mission would be threatened if Bernard McNamee is confirmed as a commissioner.

“Mr. McNamee and the Trump administration are perpetrating a false narrative about electricity reliability to force the country to bail out their political supporters in the utility industry. In addition to playing a huge role while he was at the Energy Department in the first rejected coal bailout, McNamee supports using emergency federal authority to force the country to use more expensive and polluting coal power—a plan soundly denounced by FERC commissioners this year.

“It’s clear that Mr. McNamee is far from objective. There’s a huge conflict of interest here, and that’s bad news for states that want to protect ratepayers and use more clean energy. Senators who care about protecting their constituents’ pocketbooks should vote no on his confirmation.”