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BREAKING NEWS: Health Forces McIntyre Out as Chairman; Chatterjee Back at FERC’s Helm

BREAKING NEWS: Health Forces McIntyre Out as Chairman; Chatterjee Back at FERC’s Helm

Suffering from a “serious health setback,” Kevin McIntyre has stepped down as FERC chairman but will remain a commissioner, and the White House late Wednesday announced that President Trump has designated Commissioner Neil Chatterjee to once again lead the Commission.

Earlier this year, McIntyre revealed that he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2017 and had since undergone successful surgery. He also suffered a back injury in a gym accident in July. His recovery did not prevent him from fulfilling a full schedule, including hearings on Capitol Hill and speaking engagements, at least until September, when he was absent from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s monthly public meeting. He also missed FERC’s October meeting.

“I have at all times endeavored to perform the extensive duties of Chairman — above and beyond those duties shared by all Commissioners — with full attention and vigor, despite facing some health challenges along the way, including compression fractures in multiple vertebrae this summer,” McIntyre said in a letter sent to the White House Oct. 22 and released by FERC late on Wednesday.

“However, I very recently experienced a more serious health setback, leaving me currently unable to perform the duties of chairman with the level of focus that the position demands and that FERC and the American people deserve. I therefore propose to step aside from the position of Chairman and its additional duties so that I can commit myself fully to my work as Commissioner, while undergoing the treatment necessary to address my health issues.”

Chatterjee, who served as acting chairman prior to McIntyre’s 2017 swearing in at FERC, said Wednesday night that he was stepping into the chairmanship “with a heavy heart.”

“Although this is a difficult period for the Commission, I want to assure my fellow commissioners, staff within the building and stakeholders outside it, that it’s my full intention to build upon Kevin’s hard work. But above all, I look forward to the day when my friend is back at full capacity.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) also thanked McIntyre for his leadership at the agency and wished him a swift recovery.

“I’m confident that Chairman Chatterjee will once again effectively lead the agency, and I will work with my Senate colleagues to restore a full complement of commissioners as quickly as possible,” Murkowski said.

The moves leave unchanged the makeup of FERC at four commissioners, two Republicans – McIntyre and Chatterjee — and two Democrats — Cheryl LaFleur and Richard Glick.

Earlier this month Trump nominated Republican Bernard McNamee, who is currently executive director of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Policy and previously served as deputy general counsel for energy policy at DOE. His nomination was based at least in part on his support for DOE’s failed notice of proposed rulemaking to change the nation’s grid reliability and resilience policies.

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