Biden Names 3 Nominees to Give FERC 5 Members Again
FERC headquarters in D.C.
FERC headquarters in D.C. | © RTO Insider LLC
President Biden announced three FERC nominees, which would bring the agency back to a full complement of five members even after Commissioner Allison Clements leaves.

President Joe Biden announced three FERC nominees Feb. 29, which would bring the agency back to a full complement of five members even after Commissioner Allison Clements leaves. 

Biden named to the federal regulator Judy Chang, a former Massachusetts official; FERC analyst David Rosner, who has been detailed to the Democratic staff on the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee; and West Virginia Solicitor General Lindsay See. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) recommended See. 

The last two have links to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who chairs the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, which will hold hearings on the nominees and must vote them out before they can move onto consideration by the entire Senate. Rosner has worked under Manchin at the committee. 

“A fully seated, bipartisan FERC provides more opportunity for advancing long-lasting, sensible energy infrastructure policy,” Manchin said in a statement. “As chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, I look forward to reviewing the qualifications of the three individuals nominated today to be FERC commissioners and assessing their commitment to American energy security.” 

As solicitor general, See argued her state’s side of the case before the Supreme Court in West Virginia v. EPA, which limited how the agency can regulate carbon emissions from power plants. (See Supreme Court Rejects EPA Generation Shifting.) 

Chang has more than 20 years of experience in energy economics and policy, including a stint as the undersecretary of Energy and Climate Solutions in Massachusetts where she helped implement its climate change mitigation efforts. She has presented and testified before federal and state agencies and regulatory authorities on energy resource deployment, energy contracts, transmission planning and electricity market design. 

Chang is a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She got her master’s of public policy from the Kennedy School and her bachelor’s at the University of California, Davis. 

Rosner has 15 years of experience on energy technologies, market design and energy policy issues, including his stint working on assignment for Manchin’s committee staff. He also was a senior policy adviser at DOE’s Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis and associate director of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s energy project and holds degrees in economics and public policy. 

Before becoming solicitor general, See worked at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in Washington, D.C. She graduated from Harvard Law School and is from Michigan. 

The nominees and the potential return to a full slate of FERC commissioners this year was welcomed by many in statements issued Feb. 29. 

“A full complement of commissioners is critical to ensure robust debate and efficient progress on the important issues that FERC will be asked to weigh in on in the coming months and years, from interconnection reform to transmission planning to market rule changes in light of the energy transition,” Advanced Energy United Managing Director Caitlin Marquis said in a statement. “We encourage the Senate to move forward quickly with the review process and look forward to working with a fully staffed commission under the leadership of Chair Willie Phillips.” 

Sierra Club Executive Director Ben Jealous put out a statement saying while FERC may not be well known to the public, it is critical to bring more renewable energy online quickly. 

“A fully staffed FERC has the opportunity to tackle the climate crisis while making our transmission grids more resilient and reliable,” Jealous said. “But FERC must turn around its track record of acting as a rubber stamp for the fossil fuel industry. As these nominees move through the Senate confirmation process, we will be watching for these candidates to commit to weighing climate, environmental justice, health and consumer cost impacts heavily in any decision they make. The courts have repeatedly said FERC must factor in these considerations, and the Sierra Club is committed to ensuring the makeup of the commission is in step with this mandate.” 

The Natural Resources Defense Council also welcomed the new nominees, with Sustainable FERC Project senior attorney Christy Walsh saying a fully staffed commission is important. 

“We hope for a swift and robust confirmation process that will give the nominees a chance to offer their perspectives and plans on key issues like transmission, interconnection, markets, gas regulation and environmental justice,” she said. 

The Electricity Transmission Competition Coalition also said it wants to see a full complement of five commissioners. 

“I urge the nominees to put consumers first and support electricity transmission competition, which is the key to fulfilling FERC’s mandate of providing affordable and reliable electricity,” ETCC Chair Paul Cicio said in a statement. “FERC’s role is more important than ever with spending on transmission set to grow; pro-competition commissioners will be key to ensuring that upgrades to the grid come at the lowest cost to consumers.” 

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