The Senate has confirmed the nominations of Republican Mark Christie and Democrat Allison Clements to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by voice vote, bringing the agency to its full, five-member complement for the first time since before Cheryl LaFleur departed in August of last year.
The chamber’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted on November 18 to advance the pair to the full Senate for confirmation, following their testimony before the committee in September. President Trump announced his intention to nominate Christie and Clements in July.
Who they are: Christie is chairman of the Virginia State Corporation Commission, an independent branch of the state government with regulatory authority over utilities. He has also served as president of the Organization of PJM States and the Mid-Atlantic Conference of Regulatory Commissioners. He will take the seat held by Bernard McNamee, who left the commission in September. Christie’s term expires in 2025.
Clements is the founder and president of Goodgrid LLC, an energy policy and strategy consulting firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah. Previously, she was director of the energy markets program at the Energy Foundation. Clements has also been a corporate counsel with the Natural Resources Defense Council and director of the Sustainable FERC Project. She will fill the seat left vacant by LaFleur. Clements’s term ends in 2024.
Party breakdown: Currently, there are three FERC commissioners: two Republicans, Chairman James Danly and Neil Chatterjee, and one Democrat, Richard Glick. The Republicans will hold on to that majority with the addition of Christie and Clements, but only through June of next year, when Chatterjee’s term expires.
Also, a Biden administration is almost certain to replace Danly as chairman at some point with either Glick or Clements.
What they’re saying: Following the confirmations, Edison Electric Institute (EEI) Executive Vice President Phil Moeller issued the following statement: “I have known and worked with both Mark Christie and Allison Clements for many years, and given their knowledge and experience, I know they will serve the nation well as our energy grid undergoes a major transition. We congratulate and look forward to working with them and with the rest of the commission on the many key issues impacting EEI member companies and our customers, including necessary reforms in wholesale electricity markets, enabling the development of the transmission infrastructure needed to deliver more clean energy to customers, and continuing to focus on reliability and energy grid security.”