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2017-06-02 / Energy Updates

Trump names two to serve on embattled energy panel

WASHI NGTON, D.C. (AP) – President Donald Trump has tapped an aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and a veteran Pennsylvania official to serve on the vacancy-plagued Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Only two commissioners currently serve on the five-member panel, leaving it without a quorum and unable to make decisions on interstate pipelines and other projects worth billions of dollars. One of the two remaining commissioners has said she will step down later this year, providing another opening for Trump.

The White House announced late Monday that Trump plans to nominate Neil Chatterjee, McConnell’s longtime energy adviser, and Robert Powelson, a member of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, to the energy panel. Both are Republicans. The nominations require Senate approval.

The energy agency has been without a quorum since early February and lawmakers from both parties have expressed alarm at the prolonged vacancies.

By tradition, presidents often nominate commissioners from both parties at the same time so they can be voted on together.

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