Rebuilding America's infrastructure is one of the pillars in President Donald Trump's plan to generate jobs. But a lack of sitting commissioners at the Federal Energy Regulation Commission (FERC) has sidelined up to 15 energy infrastructure projects valued between $15 billion and $25 billion and an estimated 75,000 jobs.
Energy CEOs are warning if FERC is not functional by August break, the private investment dollars for these projects might be gone.
The agency normally has a five-commissioner panel, but has only one currently, Cheryl LaFleur, who is acting chair. Two others are awaiting a vote on their nomination by the full Senate, and another could be nominated soon. Without at least three commissioners, the FERC cannot conduct business, and it hasn't had that quorum since February.
"These natural gas pipeline projects don't need federal dollars," said Jeff Bruner, President of Iroquois Pipeline (a Connecticut-based pipeline operating company), and vice chairman of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America said. "With only one member currently, FERC cannot approve new pipelines, and therefore infrastructure development is halted. We need to get infrastructure development back on track."
Right now, Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson await a full Senate vote. Both were approved 20 to 3 by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on June 6. Last week, President Trump announced he would nominate Richard Glick, the general counsel of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, to another vacant seat.