Sen. Joe Manchin has decided against scheduling a confirmation hearing for Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chair Richard Glick with only weeks left before the end of the current Congress.
“The chairman was not comfortable holding a hearing,” Sam Runyon, spokeswoman for Manchin’s office, said Thursday. Runyon declined to elaborate beyond the statement.
The decision comes days after Manchin criticized President Joe Biden’s remarks on shutting down coal plants and replacing them with renewable energy, saying “his words matter and have consequences.” Manchin has also criticized FERC’s Democratic majority for months for its move to scrutinize proposed certificates for natural gas projects.
“The moment Manchin reacted so viscerally to the certificate policy statements, I suspected Rich was in real trouble,” said Neil Chatterjee, a Republican who chaired FERC in 2017 and again from 2018 to 2020. “That was just a big mistake, and, sadly, I think he’s paying for that.”
Clean energy advocates fear a commission split along party lines would move slower to finalize major rules on transmission planning, generator interconnection, and extreme weather grid protections.
“It’s just not possible to get nearly as much done with an incomplete set of commissioners,” Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy, a trade association promoting a clean energy transition. “You’re going to see a lot of gridlock, and things just aren’t going to happen.” [Continue reading…]