Bernard McNamee, one of the four current members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, has announced that he will be leaving the agency next month, narrowing its majority to two Republicans to one Democrat. As Newswire reported on July 30, the White House intends to nominate Republican Mark C. Christie to fill McNamee’s seat and Democrat Allison Clements to fill FERC’s remaining Democratic seat.
McNamee announced in January this year that he would not seek another term on the commission (his term officially expired on June 30), but that he was willing to remain at FERC to avoid quorum concerns. At the time, McNamee was one of only three commissioners, the minimum number to establish a quorum. In March, however, James Danly was confirmed by the Senate as a fourth FERC commissioner.
The announcement: “I intend for September 4, 2020, to be my last day serving on the commission,” McNamee stated on August 5. “Since I announced at our January meeting that I would not be seeking another term, I have continued to work diligently and tirelessly on the important work of the commission. After I leave, I will take some time off and search for a job. Serving as a commissioner has been an incredible honor and an experience for which I am extremely grateful. I thank President Trump for having nominated me and the Senate for having confirmed me. I will have more to say before I leave, but needless to say, I thank the chairman, my fellow commissioners, my advisors and staff, the staff of the commission, and all of the FERC community for their support and friendship.”
Democratic disappointment: “Commissioner McNamee’s announcement that he will be stepping down in a month’s time means FERC will be operating with only three commissioners as opposed to five,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, in a statement following the announcement. “This was not the intention of Congress when the commission was created. Currently, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee lacks the necessary paperwork to hold a confirmation hearing for FERC nominees Allison Clements and Mark Christie. I am hopeful the committee will act quickly to restore a fully seated FERC once we have the necessary paperwork.”