“Mr. Chatterjee and Mr. Powelson certainly have their
work cut out for them, but I’m confident they will work to
quickly get this independent agency back on track and tackle the important work that has been deferred.” Energy and
Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski (
R-Alas.) said following the vote.
She announced that the committee will hold a hearing on
Sept. 7 to consider two more FERC nominees, Kevin McIntyre
and Richard Glick, whose selections the White House sent to
the Senate for confirmation 2 days earlier. Murkowski said she
intends to move their nominations forward as quickly as possible once the Senate returns from its August recess.
The Senate also approved the nomination of Dan Brouil-lette to be Deputy US Energy Secretary by 79 to 17 votes.
Officials from the American Petroleum Institute, American Gas Association, Interstate Natural Gas Association of
America, Natural Gas Supply Association, Center for Liquefied Natural Gas, US Chamber of Commerce, and Energy
Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance (EEIA) all welcomed
the news of Powelson and Chatterjee’s confirmations.
“There are billions of dollars of privately funded infra-
structure projects currently tied up at FERC because the
agency has lacked a quorum,” said API Midstream Group
Director Robin Rorick. “The agency now can move forward
in approving the critical infrastructure that will create jobs
across the country and help ensure that consumers can have
access to clean-burning, affordable, reliable natural gas.”
Susan Bergles, assistant general counsel at AGA, which
represents local distribution companies, said on Aug. 4 her
association “is pleased that the Senate has taken action, at
long last, to confirm these nominations. We anxiously await
both nominees being sworn in soon so that, with a quorum
restored, FERC can get back to the important work which
has been pending since February.”
Upcoming hearing welcomed
INGAA Pres. Donald F. Santa also noted that FERC now can get
back to work thoroughly reviewing many energy transportation projects that have been sidelined since Feb. 1. “We appreciate the Trump administration formally nominating Republican Kevin McIntyre—designated as chairman—and Democrat
Richard Glick and are encouraged to see that the Energy and
Natural Resources Committee has already scheduled a hearing
for the two nominees in September,” he added on Aug. 3.
NGSA Pres. Dena Wiggins said that Powelson and Chatterjee bring to FERC “a wealth of experience in different regulatory aspects of the energy industry” and allow FERC to
review numerous projects that have been proposed after the
LNG export project developers also welcomed the two
nominees’ confirmations, CLNG Executive Director Char-
lie Riedl said. “Returning FERC to full strength will allow
LNG developers to move forward with confidence that the
required permits and permissions to build projects will be
considered quickly and efficiently,” he observed.
EEIA, which represents more than 1 million workers at
120,000 companies in 60 industries along the shale energy
supply chain, led a letter in July signed by 25 trade asso-
ciations and labor unions, initiated numerous personal con-
tacts with senators, and unleashed more than 600 individu-
al letters to senators urging action, according to its president,
“We’re pleased to have played a leading role to get these
important officials confirmed so we can get moving again on
job creation and building the modern energy infrastructure
our country so desperately needs,” he said on Aug. 3.
Chemical dispersants concerns
should be addressed, NAS
More studies will be needed to allay public concerns about
potential environmental impacts from using chemical dispersants to help clean up offshore oil spills, a National Academy of Sciences committee examining the use of dispersants
was told on Aug. 7. A forthcoming study should not be considered the last word on the subject, said one of its authors,
Christopher M. Reddy, a senior scientist specializing in marine science and geochemistry at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
The paper, which is undergoing peer review before its upcoming publication in Proceedings of the NAS, suggests that
dispersants deployed following the 2010 Macondo deepwater well blowout and spill helped improve air quality as response teams worked on the Gulf of Mexico’s surface.
“We’re very wary that this will be viewed as a unilateral
stamp of approval. It’s not,” Reddy said. “It’s simply something that’s on one side of the ledger. Two other fine reports
already have been issued. But even now, we can’t get work
done without answering questions about dispersants. There
are more questions about them than about oil spills.”
One committee member quickly agreed. Gina Coelho,
who was chief scientist on the monitoring of subsurface dispersant injection during the Macondo spill cleanup and was
a scientific liaison on dispersant issues for BP PLC, the well’s
operator, during and after the spill response, said the company tried to hold public meetings to address concerns over
dispersants, but no one came.
“The big question is how to expand your audience,” Reddy told the committee. “I don’t understand why there are so
many negative views about dispersants. I don’t know why
this is happening.”