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USA’s new Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman vows to reject political influence

Facing Trump coal and nuclear push, new energy panel chief swears off politics, Washington Examiner,  by Josh Siegel, October 31, 2018 

New Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Neil Chatterjee vowed Wednesday to protect the independent body from political influence as it considers how to handle the growing number of retirements of coal and nuclear plants.

“We should be separate an

d apart from any political influence on either side,” Chatterjee said. “I intend to do everything in my power.”

“I have made very clear to all of the staff at the agency that the agency’s independence from political influence will continue,” Chatterjee, a sitting GOP commissioner, told reporters at a briefing one week after the White House designated him chairman, replacing Kevin McIntyre, a fellow Republican who is suffering from health issues.

Chatterjee sought to rebut critics who fear, because of his political background representing a coal-friendly state, that he may be more sympathetic to the Trump administration’s interest in saving uneconomic coal and nuclear plants by subsidizing their continued existence……….

FERC in January voted unanimously to reject a proposal from Energy Secretary Rick Perry to provide special payments to struggling coal and nuclear plants in the name of resilience and reliability, saying the grid faces no immediate risk without them.

McIntyre and Chatterjee both opposed the Perry plan.

FERC, in rejecting Perry’s plan, directed regional transmission operators to submit information on resilience challenges in their markets. The commission is reviewing those responses and could act on its own. President Trump has repeatedly pressed for action to save coal and nuclear plants, but the White House has reportedly stalled over an effort to use emergency executive authority.

Any potential action would likely come through FERC.

Chatterjee said he would follow the “rule of law” on any decision on the matter and take action, or no action if the evidence does not support it, based on facts.

“This won’t be a politically influenced decision,” he said. “My actions will be taken by the record, facts, and the rule of law.”

The new FERC chairman also said he would not veer from the commission’s other priorities……

November 1, 2018 - Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA

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