FERC Commissioner Resigns Threatening Major M-U Pipeline Projects

FERC Chairman Norman Bay

Last Thursday, Norman Bay, one of three Federal Energy Regulatory (FERC) Commissioners, announced he would resign effective Feb. 3–this Friday. His unexpected resignation directly threatens a number of critical pipeline projects in the Marcellus/Utica. It appears to us to be a revenge resignation–an attempt to screw the Trump Administration. Bay is a Democrat. In fact, all three sitting FERC Commissioners are Democrats. FERC is supposed to have five Commissioners–but there have been two empty slots since last September when Republican Tony Clark left. Last week President Donald Trump announced he would elevate sitting Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur to become Chairman of the Commission, replacing Bay in that role. It should be noted LaFleur has been on the Commission since 2010 and has been, at various times, Acting Chairman and full Chairman. In fact, Norm Bay was elevated by Obama to become Chairman, replacing LaFleur in that role. Did LaFluer leave in a huff? No. She stayed to do the important work of the Commission. Now that the roles are reversed, Bay seems to be bent on revenge against Trump–placing important pipeline projects in danger of not getting timely approvals. It takes three members to have a quorum, to approve projects. Some (including THE Delaware Riverkeeper) are pushing for a block on new appointments to FERC–meaning FERC’s work stops cold. Three critically urgent M-U projects have asked FERC to approve their projects THIS WEEK, before Bay leaves: NEXUS (Spectra Energy), Leach XPress (Columbia Pipeline/TransCanada), and Atlantic Sunrise (Williams)…

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