Collette Honorable, one of two sitting Commissioners on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, indicated last week that she will not seek reappointment when her term expires in June. She will need to be replaced by a Democrat since no more than 3 of the 5 FERC commissioners can be of the same party. While several names have been prominently mentioned as potential Republican appointees to the three existing FERC vacancies, President Trump has not yet submitted the names of any nominees. As has been noted previously, the agency will require at least 3 sitting commissioners to constitute a quorum. When all vacancies are filled, 4/5ths of the FERC commissioners will be appointees of President Trump.
In an interview last week with E&E News, conducted before she announced her plans to leave FERC, Commissioner Honorable had the following exchange about infrastructure
E&E News: What do you think the next steps are going to be on infrastructure coming out of the commission?
Colette Honorable: Thank you for the question about it. As you know, at FERC, infrastructure, I guess the hearing of applications for certificates is really a major part of our work, although it’s stalled at the moment while we don’t have a quorum. And so the first next step needs to be hearing the names of our three future colleagues who will join us. As you might imagine, we have quite a backlog developing, and I want to acknowledge our acting chair, Cheryl LaFleur, who is leading an effort to work on how we can expedite our colleagues’ transition to FERC in a way that will help alleviate this backlog so that the stakeholders that have been eagerly awaiting hearing from us can do so. I’m really proud of our work on competitive transmission development and looking at ways to improve our processes to allow for more timely development of projects, improvements to competitive bidding processes and ways to improve transmission cost allocation and planning, particularly inter-regionally in places where we can get better cost efficiency and the alleviation of seams issues at the inter-regional seams of RTOs or ISOs. We’re also, as you know, continuing our work, though at times controversial, on hearing applications for interstate gas pipelines. That is a mandate that we received from Congress and, yes, that work will continue as well. So, we have a lot on our plate with regard to infrastructure, and I must also mention our very important work focused on energy infrastructure security, focused not only on resilience, protecting the grid from physical attacks, severe weather events, but also cybersecurity, which is something that I think keeps a lot of us up at night. We really can’t pay too much attention there.